Garaging a Pickup? 6 Things to Consider

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Everyone who owns a pickup truck, full-size or not, seems to have a funny — or not-so-funny — story about parking their pickup in their garage or other parking structures. Yes, pickups are bigger than most automobiles, yet more people than you'd think forget that.

Excluding the warning signs about roof height you might see at the entrance of a multistory shopping mall parking garage or underground parking lot, there are many common-sense things to consider when parking your pickup at home or away.

It's not just about whether if fits: Can you can pull in far enough to close the garage door or fit between the white lines? You also must think about opening doors and being able to walk around the truck to enter the house. And don't forget those pesky support beams and low-hanging door motors. In parking garages, you also must be mindful of support beams, turning radiuses and the vehicles you park between.

During recent testing in the Pacific Northwest with a pair of Toyota pickups, we had the chance to compare 2018 Tundra half-ton and Tacoma mid-size pickups in a residential garage. The garage housed storage closets and cabinets, a hot water heater, air conditioning, a water softener, a center support beam and an access door to the house. When we compared the trucks in different parking spots in the garage, the results were informative, so we're sharing them with you.

Here are six things to consider before you purchase your next pickup if you plan to park it in a garage. Remember, just because they fit doesn't mean garaging it will work for you.


1. Ceiling Height

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Measure to the lowest point of the garage ceiling; many garages have automatic garage doors and the motors for those will severely affect how much clearance you'll have to work with. That height will determine whether a mid-size, half-ton or heavy-duty pickup will fit.


2. Will the Garage Door Close?

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Making sure you can close the garage door may seem obvious, but in the case of the garage we used for our test, one parking space had significantly more room behind the trucks than the other space. Our Tundra barely fit in the smaller space.


3. Truck Length

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Also a bit obvious, the length of the pickup you purchase will matter. Just about every U.S. pickup model offers at least two different bed lengths and two cab configurations, both of which will affect the wheelbase and overall length. A tape measure will provide the absolute length of your truck, but you may need to see for yourself by bringing home your truck of choice for a garage test.


4. Support Beams

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And having room at the nose and rear bumper doesn't mean you're home free. Be aware of where support beams are located and where other family vehicles will be parked. Open doors on both sides of the truck to check door clearances. Not all parking structures are wide enough to accommodate large, swing-out doors.


5. Can You Move Around the Truck?

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Just because you have length and door clearance doesn't mean you're done checking things yet. You still need to see whether you can move around the truck in the garage with the garage and house doors closed. Make sure you have enough room to scooch around all sides of your pickup so no one gets trapped inside once it's parked.


6. Truck Weight


Although it may not seem important, it's always good to know how much your vehicle weighs, empty and loaded, in case the parking garage or structure has a maximum weight limit. Both the gross vehicle weight rating and a factory calculated max payload capacity are listed on the door tags of your vehicle's driver-side door. Of course, you can run to the nearest CAT scales at your local truck stop as well. photos by Christian Lantry


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Dimensions. Learn them.

I've been laughing at this discussion every time it comes up.

Do you realize that EVERY suburban American wants MORE garage space. Call a trusted contractor and show 'em your garage. Tell them you want more space.

I guarantee you can add space to your home's garage cheaper than you can screwing around with trying to find a truck that fits.

Any money you spend on your garage will add to the value of your house. Ask any woman if she wants more places to put "stuff" around the house.

Go to your local bank and get a home equity loan to build-on to your garage.

@ papajim

I agree with you, I am looking into adding onto my garage. Its a 2 1/4 size now. I want to go 2 stall deep. So I can fit my 2 vehicles and my boat in there. Instead of paying storage fee on my boat for the winter! I can't go to the side and add a 3rd door bc it would be really close to the neighbors property line. I have a huge backyard, so I figured go 2 deep.

I will just add that garaging a vehicle makes a huge difference in its condition five or ten years down the road. I'm sure that is obvious to most here, but i imagine there may be some folks who only have experience with one or the other. Weather, be it rust-promoting and mildew-promoting precipitation or the aging, oxidizing components of sunlight, will take its toll on vehicles left out in the elements, not to mention the deleterious effects of temperature swings.

That tundra came awful close to that water heater. I back my truck into the garage. I have a device that lets me know when I've backed in far enough. But I'd rather pull forward out of my garage. You never know when a neighbor kid or pet might be cutting through your driveway.

Where full-size trucks lose is the garage battle.

I see it all of the time, owners trying to squeeze them in and then squeeze themselves in and out of their bigger trucks!

Compact/mid-size, we do not have these issues, we win this battle all of the time.

And just look at parking lots, same issue for the bigger trucks, sad to say that many do not know how to drive or park properly!

Sad, very sad!

Slow news day...

I will just add that garaging a vehicle makes a huge difference in its condition five or ten years down the road.
Posted by: Longboat | Sep 5, 2018

Depends on where you live. Climate, and crime.

Apart from those considerations I don't care.

My Silverado is almost 10 years old, has never spent a night inside. The paint looks like new. The interior and trim just need a wipe and a quick vacuum to look great.

Watch for objects that can collect outside the doors at night. One morning I opened the garage door and started backing the truck when suddenly the entire left side of the lurched up just as the passenger mirror was at the door post. smashed the mirror frame and broke the glass. I pulled back into the garage to see what happened. The kids left a basketball next to the garage door. When the truck backed up it rolled under the rear axle and jacked the truck up enough to cause the damage.

@Don E

As a vehicle operator it's a responsibility that you clear your vehicle to the front, sides and back before moving. Right?

A trick I picked up from when I was doing communications work on the oil field. Make sure your first move is always forward. Their policy is to back in park. It's not a fix all, but it is a sound safety policy.

that's my policy too

Love my Ram; yes TNT I have it and its a beast, Yes GMSRGREAT I am not on here becasue of the crap you and TNT spew, I do, however read some of the articles here with out posting, and I laugh when my name is brought up. I am glad I made such an impression on you guys! Talk to you soon!

I am glad I made such an impression on you guys


You have been successful. I am now convinced that you are a complete fool. You had to know that tossing a softball like that would bait someone like me to drill it straight out of the park!

Amazes me that I've never seen discussion on standard length garages in inches. I've never seen anyone but me on this site share the magic number of 235". And I've heard plenty from many on this site that don't care about garaging their truck, but obviously many of us do care! Granted often times a standard length might just be an average of a bunch of garages, but I've measured about four in various city's in the SF bay area and 235" max is really a good number. So that's the magic number for the big 3 to hit with a full size 6.5' bed, crew cab (39" min leg room) to hit. Amazes me that that they don't try to move the cab forward or reduce front end by 4-5" (preferably 6") to get such a vehicle to fit the garage. I've been a long time waiting and wishing.

I told you that I can't increase length of my garage because the bathroom and kitchen are on the other side. I've done sheetrock work and all kinds of metal work, and replaced 5 hot water heaters, but I'm not going to screw with those walls. Amazes me that I share these things but you think everyone can just go call a contractor and be done with it. I've said it before that California is the 7th or so largest economy and that space is a premium for homes and that construction is going to 3 story homes and garages just aren't getting bigger.
So when you recommend people just go call a contractor and move walls I want to laugh. I have 3 buddy's that are contractors and I'm not even going to bother calling them to move those walls because they are only 2x4 walls and then the main circuit breaker box is on that wall too. Granted I really need a mid-size, but I've waited patiently to see if these lazy big three will ever focus on packaging a full-size a bit smaller from the BRICK front end point of view. So no thanks for your recommendations.

I am confident that the only person bringing your name into any comments is in fact yourself, when you post as Nitro.

This gets posted but no sales figures for August?


You are not the center of my bleeping universe. I cannot make myself feel sorry for you.

Can you say Utah? Wyoming? Nevada? You choose to live west of the Rockies in a place that has at least fifty million acres of land set aside for "habitat."

Santa Clara, right? It was your idea to live there not mine.
Nobody is stopping you from living in a less congested place.

I have a news flash for you. The big 3 care less about your situation than I do.

@ crunchtime:

Long time no see!! Did you turn in your man card when you got your 2019 Ram with the dial shifter? LOL

I heard those largest and best in class touch screens are quite troublesome. Best of luck with that ole buddy!

^ PUTC time for a new thread. This one has already degraded. ^

The worst thing for a vehicle's paint and interior is the sun. I park my truck in the garage at night but it still has to sit out in the sun all day when I'm at work and I'm usually out doing things with it on the weekend. It does stay a little cleaner as you don't get the dew or frost on it every morning which makes dirty when it mixes with the dust on the truck.

The worst thing for a vehicle's paint and interior is the sun. I park my truck in the garage at night but it still has to sit out in the sun all day when I'm at work and I'm usually out doing things with it on the weekend. It does stay a little cleaner as you don't get the dew or frost on it every morning which makes dirty when it mixes with the dust on the truck.

@ CT

I couldn't care less what u have. Doubt you have it, after u lied about tye first time you supposedly had it?!?! My 6.2L will smoke that Hemi anyways and gets better gas mileage!

Congrats on the buy though....if u really Bought it!

The worst thing for a vehicle's paint and interior is the sun



The worst thing for your vehicle's paint and interior is a really hard collision resulting in a bad fire. Sunlight is no big deal compared to fire and hard impact.

Today's clear-coat original equipment auto paints are a huge improvement compared to the finishes they had 25 years ago. Same with interior plastics.

Some tints are better than others but you really have to abuse your exterior finish to get bad results these days. Some of the plastic exterior trims are still less than ideal, but they've improved a lot too.

@Papajim I do agree paint quality has improved but still impacted by the sun over a period of time. It is the plastics, rubber seals, headlights that are the most prone to damage though. My grandma has a 1999 Ford Tuarus always parked in the garage and all the rubber seals, plastics, paint still look mint except where she hit stuff. If you park a new car out side for 10 years the seals, plastics, lights are going to look more weathered then a car that has been garaged.

Andy I have a Silverado that is almost ten years old. The paint and trim look like new.

I'm always getting offers for it. It's never been inside overnight. Always outdoors.

I recently polished the headlight covers, other than that it's been a stud.

@ papajim, TNTGMC, and GMSGREAT,

Would you fine fellows like to lay nekkid across the hood of my shiny new 2019 Ram? That would allow me to break it in properly. I would be greatly honored if you would do this for me!!

Let me know!


ohhhh lalala!!!

Don't settle for a 20x20 garage when you build a house. Make sure you spec in at least a 24 x 25 and bigger if possible. It's amazing how many people over look this.

We just sold a 2200 sq ft house last spring. The buyer was thrilled with the 3 car garage.

They said it made a big difference in their decision because they were moving south from an even bigger house up north. Having the extra space meant they could park the cars outside and unload the Mayflower truck into the garage and not have to unpack everything on day one.

During the years we lived there, the garage rarely ever had two cars in it. And it was usually jammed.

Definitely go for the big one.

Toyota made the Tacoma 4 inches longer over the 2nd gen. Stupid. Where is 4 wheel steering to control these things and offer better performance and road manners when pulling trailers especially and when backing them up. Cant wait to buy an electric pick up, all these trucks are old news, same tool and dies for 50 years, ridiculous.

@Papajim, so are you saying your a hoarder?

common sense not so common


Not a hoarder.

I'm a father. The extended family includes six kids and 13 grand-kids. Half the stuff in the garage was kid's.

same tool and dies for 50 years, ridiculous.
Posted by: Thomas | Sep 6, 2018


Are you a T&D guy? Do you do SAE stuff?

The best thing you can do for any vehicle is to use a good polymer sealant at least once a year regardless if your truck/car sits outside or is garaged. The thin coat of polymer sealant between your paint and the exterior elements is what protects you paint. I have a 99 S-10 pickup which has been sitting outside for the past 10 years which I use paint sealer at least once a year but mostly twice a year. Paint is like new and so is the dash and interior which I use Armor All and I also use a window sunshade on my windshield with a reflective surface even in the winter. I also have been using a waterless polymer detailer on a weekly basis to keep the shine (even use this on the aluminum wheels). Most of the time the truck does not get that dirty since the dirt does not seem to stick. I have been taking care of my vehicles for over 40 years and found that if I routinely do the above my vehicles seem to always look new and never age.

I realize many on this site do not keep vehicles as long as I do but if you do it will last many more years and you will tend to want to keep it longer if it is well maintained. I have learned many things over the years including when I worked for an older man in the oil business who had a black Cadillac Sedan Deville that looked brand new and ran brand new despite having close to 200k miles mostly highway. There was also an article years ago on a livery driver in New York that had over a million miles on a Cadillac Fleetwood that was used every day with the oil changed weekly since it was constantly driven and the car waxed every month. Today's poly sealants protect better and last longer with much less effort.

Suggestion for is that they have a series of articles on taking care of your truck both mechanically and cosmetically. I have talked with many people who do not know anything about maintaining a vehicle.

UV stability in auto paints has been an area of fiercely competitive research by companies like DuPont (paints) during the last 50 years. Today's paints don't really require the kind of attention that Jeff S is referring to but it can't hurt.

My truck gets waxed at least once a year but I think it's the paint itself. I see older GM trucks with the Silver Birch finish all the time and they all look great. It's a bland-looking color, sort of tan, but it really holds up.

They had an automotive paint chemist on some show I was watching and he said he always left his car dirty. A good Layer of grime protects from the sun.

@papajim--It is so easy to apply poly sealant. After you wash and dry your truck make sure that your truck is parked in the shade. Put the poly sealant on and let it stay for 15 to 30 minutes then wipe it off with a micro fiber cloth. Your paint should be poly sealed at least once a year if you want to prevent fading. I use a waterless detail spray which you can either use if your truck is not too dirty or you can use it after a wash and spray it on and wipe it off instead of just drying with a towel. Doesn't really matter which brand just that it is polymer which you can get at Walmart, any auto parts store, and Amazon. Most of your car enthusiasts use this quick waterless detail whenever they show their classic vehicles it is easy and it removes fingerprints as well. Many people who see my vehicles are surprised at their age and many cannot believe that the finish is original. I use to hand wax my vehicles which is a lot of hard work and the wax does not last as long as the polymer. The poly sealant can be bought on line from Amazon or any website specializing in car care products. It costs anywhere from 20 to 30 bucks but you can do up to 20 cars or trucks with it. My vehicles always look showroom new both inside and outside. It shocks most who see my 99 S-10 which is pewter color because it has a mirror like finish where you can see yourself on. I have had people trying to buy my S-10 but it looks and runs so good that I am keeping it for a few more years and then I am giving it to my nephew who is retired from the Coast Guard--he loves my truck.

My pewter colored S-10 is a similar color to the silver birch on papajim's truck. Very easy color to take care of and does not show the dirt or dust as much. My Onyx Black Isuzu is much different and that is where the polymer detailer works well in that it does not show the swirl marks that make black a difficult color to maintain as well as the dust and dirt. My wife's CRV has a pearl diamond white which is not too bad. If you have tar on your vehicle and other stuff that is hard to get off ten you will need to use a clay bar but I have not had to use one of those. I also use a California duster to just dust off the vehicle if I do not feel like using the detailer. Today's car products are much better and much easier to use.

@Jeff S

I'm not disagreeing with you.

My point is that auto paints today have a UV-tolerance that allows a much less careful attitude to prevail, like the guy who said leave the grime on your car/truck.

That's not my style because I like my car/truck to look sharp.

My 5 year old grandson and I go to the (self serve) car wash at least once a week.

He can't wait. He sprays the wheels with the dressing and loves it. I let him hold the sprayer to hose off the soap.

My truck is never dirty for long.

@papajim--Agree today's paints are much better and don't fade. My parents had a 57 Chrysler Windsor 4 door when we moved to Houston, TX from Dayton, OH. It was dark metallic blue with a white top and white on the sides. After 2 years the blue was faded. I saw the car after my father traded it on on a new 59 Plymouth Sport Suburban wagon which was white. The new owner of the Chrysler had painted it all white. My parents latter had a 62 Chevy II which was Roman Red and a 64 Impala wagon which was Desert Sand but they were kept in a garage and waxed every 3 or 4 months. The paint on both were still like new after 10 years.

If you garage your daily driver're a wuss.

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