Car Strap Basics: How to Use Ratchet Straps

Ratchet straps are incredibly versatile. We include them with our trailer rentals to simplify your transport process. In this guide, we’ll explain how to use ratchet straps to secure your cargo.

What Are Ratchet Straps Used for?

Ratchet straps, also known as tie-down straps, are ideal for securing cargo to a trailer. They are made from polyester webbing, which has just enough stretch to tightly tie something down. Ratchet straps are scratch resistant and safe to use on most surfaces. You can use them to tie cars, boxes, furniture, appliances, and other large items on a trailer.

The straps come in different sizes with various attachments, such as rings or hooks. The hooks lock into openings on vehicles and trailers, or they can hook two sets of straps together. Ratchet straps are not prone to tearing, making them reliable for long transport.

How to Set up Ratchet Straps

For bundles of items, wrap the strap around the bundle like a belt. You may also use the straps across the top or end of a large load. Put the strap through the applicable loops or tie-down locations. Make sure the strap is flat, not twisted. Then follow these steps:

  1. Open the ratchet using the lever or release the catch. This is usually by the top of the ratchet.
  2. Put one end of the strap through the lower slot leading up to the spool.
  3. Pull the strap through the top so that it sits behind the spool (also known as a mandrel).
  4. Pump the ratchet lever up and down to tighten the strap. Each pump will make the strap tighter. Do not over-tighten.
  5. Close the ratchet and lock it into position. You may want to tie down the straps so they do not flap around in transit.

For longer transports, check the straps periodically to make sure the load has not moved. You can tighten the straps for better security if the cargo shifts.  

How to Loosen Ratchet Straps

When you’re ready to unload, pull the release lever on the ratchet. This will probably look like a handle that you can get your fingers into. Hold the lever as you pull the straps loose. It will release the tension locking the straps in place.

Feel free to practice tightening and loosening the ratchet straps before using them on your load. It may take a few tries to get the rhythm down.

To rent a car hauler in Michigan, contact Easy Car Haulers at (888) 672-1206.