Currently Ford and GMC offer snow plow prep packages for their pickups and you can pick one up for the Nissan Titan beginning with the 2018 model year. There are good reasons to opt-in for the snow plow prep package for trucks that have one available.
A Snow Plow Prep Package is a package offered by Ford and GMC to make your truck better capable for handling the strain of running a snow plow. You will generally find snow plow prep packages for vehicles in the ¾ to 1 ton range with Ford also offering it on their F-150.
Snow plow prep packages are relatively inexpensive. When Ford introduced their F-150 plow prep package in 2015 it was only a $50 upgrade and still today the plow prep package for the F-150 and F-250 can be had for less than $100. GMC is on the pricier end with a package on the 2500 setting you back just under $400 (it is less on the 3500).
So what are the reasons to have a Snow Plow Prep Package?
In the fine print of every warranty there is wording that allows the manufacturer of your truck to void the warranty for any unapproved modification on the truck. A snow plow on a truck that does not have a snow plow package could be used as an excuse to void the warranty.
How bad can it be? Bad enough that some snow plow installers refuse to put plows on trucks that do not come from the factory with a snow plow prep package. I know, I used to live a couple of miles from one.
To be fair, most truck dealers want to work with you and they will try to put as much work through warranty as they reasonably can, but if your truck seems to lack electrical power while plowing or your front springs fail early, you could be out a lot of money in repairs to save a few dollars by avoiding the snow plow prep package. It is just not worth it.
Hydraulics take a lot of energy to run…I mean a lot. When we look at the alternators on trucks 1 ton and smaller, many of them can’t keep up with 10 hours of continuous snow plowing especially if you are running an electric spreader.
Every once in a while, someone will bring a plow into the shop saying, “my plow won’t go up like it should,” and then the mechanic finds it works fine. What happens is that the battery charges while the operator is driving down the road and then by the time the mechanic sees the plow, everything is working just fine. The operator goes back out and has problems again not realizing the truck is just not keeping up with the electricity needs of the equipment.
Almost every snow plow prep package will mean a beefier alternator in your truck. The alternator will pump more electricity into your battery so that you can go for hours without taking a break.
Even a small plow weighs hundreds of pounds and you can easily find plows that weigh over 1000 pounds for a pickup even before you get any snow on the plow. Unlike throwing 1000 pounds in the bed of your truck, the weight of the plow puts almost all of its strain on the front of the truck and will even give you less traction on your rear wheels if you do not add ballast (extra weight in the back to balance the extra weight in the front).
The snow plow prep packages are meant to strengthen that front end, in particular the springs, so you don’t damage your truck. Just driving around with a snow plow on a bumpy road without doing any plowing can be hard on the front end of a pickup not designed for that kind of weight hanging off the front, so be very sure to follow the manufacturer recommendations regarding the size of plow, the minimum amount of ballast, and the GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) limitations.
The GMC package comes with a guard to protect your transfer case as well as electrical for a strobe light on top of your truck. These keep your vehicle safer and make it easier to install safety lights so everyone can see you.
In the end, you won’t lose with a Snow Plow Prep Package. For the few extra dollars you spend on the package you will get the better alternator and a front end better equipped to handle extra weight, so if you are getting a Ford or a GMC, definitely consider the prep package as a worthwhile option.