Can I Drive a Truck Without the Bed? -The Complete Legal Guide


I recently took a road trip on my truck but without the bed. I was worried I would get pulled over, but I took care of a few things and everything went well.

Can I drive a truck without the bed? Yes, You can, but you have to put on tail lights, license plate, turn signals, mud flaps, and rear bumper. If you have all these you are good to go.

Not many drive around their trucks without a bed, but if you do, you have to take care of a few things. Without the tail lights, license plate and turn signals you will be pulled over by a cop. If you are lucky you may get out without a ticket but you have to be really convincing.

My friend got out because he said he is on his way to pick up a bed and he really was. Not everyone is that lucky! If you want to stay out of trouble you have to follow the law. I too got pulled over three times but got out without a ticket.

How I Got Out After Being Pulled Over 3 Times?

I live in Colorado so one fine Sunday, I decided to take a trip to the Eldorado State Park on my pickup truck but without the bed. The state park pulls hundreds of climbers from around the world.

It features great cliffs that soar up to the sky. I had a picnic there and had a great time gazing up the climbers sitting alongside South Boulder Creek.

While returning home, I got pulled once just 6 miles away from the state park. The cop asked for the usual license, registration, and proof of insurance.

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He said the only reason he is letting me go because I had my tail lights on. Thank the lord, I took this advice from my neighbor. But I didn’t have mud flaps or turn signals, still, I got out.

Remember: Tail lights, license plate, turn signals, mud flaps, and rear bumper

A few miles away I got pulled over by another cop. He ran my license and even said he is going to give me a ticket for not having fenders. I was slinging stuff all over the place.

So, I decided to say what my friend had said and got out – “I’m on my way to pick up a bed.” He was not happy but reluctantly agreed not to give me a ticket and I was on my way home.

While returning, only 3 miles away from my place I had to face it again. Frankly, I didn’t get pulled over but the cop just rolled up, took a good look at my truck and left.

It’s a miracle I didn’t get pulled over on my way to Eldorado State Park! Strange!

The next day, I bought a couple of new mud flaps, rigged up temporary turn signals, brake lights, and license plate.

I took a long trip to State Forest State Park, a 3-hour drive from Denver. I went and returned home without any trouble.

If I can do it, you can too!

How to Install Tail lights in the Bumper?

You can either surface mount or flush mount tail lights in the back of the truck. If you have a bumper, you can flush mount these and if you don’t have you just have to surface mount at the end of the pickup.

First, we are going to purchase a set of tail lights and depending on its dimensions, then we are going to trace it out and mark it to make a cut for the mounting lights.

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Next, cut out the bumper where you want to fix the tail lights using a circular hand cutter. Next put you tail lights in along with wires to locate places where you have to drill to make holes for the screws.

After drilling out the holes, you just have to fix the tail lights using the nuts and bolts it came with.

You would have to do the same for both the left and right side of the bumper. You can use both white and red LED lights on the rear side of the pickup.

After fixing you LED lights in the bumper you have to connect the wires to the dash control panel with a switch. This will help you in reverse parking a lot.

How to Install License Plate?

If you are using an existing license plate bracket, you will just have to remove the screws in the bracket which secures the license plate. Next, find the screws at the corners of the bracket, turn them counter-clockwise and keep it safe. If you don’t have the screws, you can always buy a set of 4 new ones from hardware stores.

It’s worth noting that some brackets have a screw-mounted frame which fits over the license plate. Remember to align it over the license plate and insert the screws during installation.

Next, align the license plate with the holes and place the license plate into the bracket aligning with the holes. If the bracket has a frame that fits over the license plate, then align the holes with the plate and the bracket.

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Now put the screws in order to secure the plate. Insert it through the holes in the bracket and license plate. Tighten the screws and you are good to go.

How to Install Mud Flaps?

Basically installing mud flaps is the same in all vehicles be it a pickup or a sedan. However, make sure to read the instructions in case there might be some additional instructions or details.

First, ensure that the mud flaps fit you back of the pickup by holding them up to the wheel wells. Make sure that they fit the curves of the vehicle and give enough clearance to the wheels.

Next, clean the mounting surface and get rid of mud or other residues it has acquired over time.

If your vehicle already comes with factory-drilled mounting holes, you are good to go. However, if you don’t have them, just trace out or mark the spots where you need holes and drill through.

Make sure the mud flaps are parallel, level and are tightened securely to the body.

Related Questions

Which Pickup Truck Gives the Most Interior Room? Ford F-150 SuperCrew of 2016 model gives the most interior room.

Will a pickup fit a full-size bed? It may not fit a bed it will definitely fit a full-size mattress, and queen sized mattress when placed angled.

Jackson Reid
Jackson Reid
With a wrench in one hand and a trucker's hat on my head, I've been knee-deep in the world of trucks for over a decade. From tinkering in greasy garages to cruising down open highways, my life has been one big trucking adventure. I've hauled, repaired, and revved up more rigs than I can count, and now I'm revving up your truck knowledge with articles that'll steer you right.

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