Pro Tips: How to Tie Down Items on a Trailer

If you’ve never tied items down on a trailer, you may not know where to start. Where do the straps go, and what types of straps should you use? This guide gives some simple tips for tying objects to a trailer.

Why It’s Important to Secure Items on a Trailer

Just because your load is stable when you’re parked doesn’t mean it will stay that way on the road. The trailer will jostle around as you drive, and the wind picks up considerably when you speed up. Even the heavy objects on the trailer are at risk of flying off.

Approximately 50,000 crashes per year are caused by flying debris on the road. Securing your belongings not only protects your property but also protects other drivers around you. Use extra caution to ensure that everyone is safe during transit.

How to Tie Down a Trailer Load

For the purpose of this guide, we’ll focus on securing items on an open car hauler or utility trailer. If you’re driving an enclosed trailer, you can use similar strategies within the walls of the trailer.

Tie-down straps or ratchet straps are ideal for securing items on a trailer. They create a tight, custom fit that remains firm on the road. You could use rope or bungee cords for backup support, but that will not be as reliable as tie-down straps.

Use straps to secure the objects from the top and sides. For example, if you’re tying a washing machine onto the trailer, you may want straps going vertically and horizontally across the top of the washer, as well as a strap going around the sides of the washer. This limits the movement as you drive to keep the object firmly in place.

Lock items to the sides of the trailer. You can use the sides to act as walls around the objects, and then use the straps to create additional “walls” as needed. If you try to secure objects into the middle of the trailer, they’re more likely to move around.

Add extra straps to secure drawers. One of the best ways to tie a chest of drawers to a trailer is to lay it on its back with the drawers facing upward. Then, add a strap vertically to keep the drawers in place and another one horizontally to keep the furniture from moving. If you don’t have enough straps, you could use plastic wrap to secure the drawers to the rest of the piece.

Anchor the straps with a loop. Instead of hooking a strap to a hole, thread it through the hole and lock it into itself. Some straps are made with S hooks designed specifically for this function, but you may need to make adjustments based on the type of straps you have.

Check on your items periodically as you drive. No matter how well you lock the items down, they still have the ability to move around over time. Monitor the load in your mirrors, and pull over as needed to tighten or adjust your straps.