How To: Ratchet Strap A Vehicle

AK with Chaos Fab Shop shows you the proper way to ratchet strap a vehicle to a trailer or flatbed. It’s a question we get a lot, so we wanted to make a video.
It is vital you secure your vehicle correctly. Working with ratchet straps can be dangerous. When properly secured, the ratchet strap is under a great load, and frayed, cut, or improperly secured ratchet straps can snap. Here’s exactly how you can safely use a ratchet strap.
AK Whatley (00:15): One of the things that I’ve seen a lot, is a whole bunch of people strapping down vehicles, a whole bunch of different ways. Some of it’s safe, some of it’s not really all that safe. One of the things that I see a lot of people having problems or questions with, is a ratchet strap, and I see a lot of people strap these things down, they get four or five miles down the road and they start to loosen up. So take a look at these ratchet straps.
AK Whatley (00:37): In this case, it’s a Mac’s tie down kit. We have axle straps going over the axle here, and when you’re using a ratchet strap, this is the way that I like to do it. I see a lot of people put the ratchet down on this end. If you put the ratchet down here, that means when I’m pulling it, I’m pulling my head and shoulders and everything into the vehicle that I’m strapping down.
AK Whatley (00:59): So I like to put the ratchet on this end, and I see a lot of times, people will pull these things tight like this, and then they’ll start to ratchet these things down. I like to leave a little bit of space and leave it loose. That way, when this starts to turn, the fabric that’s right here will make it all the way around to this again, to hold it. Imagine that this is like a synthetic winch line on a drum. You have to have a certain amount of turns on that drum before it’ll engage, and that way this strap can stay nice and tight. And I like to pull it backwards first, or put some tension on the back one, so that when you go to the other side, we don’t just want to ratchet this all the way down, we have to have something to pull against. So now we have some tensioning here and we can go up to the front, and start to pull the front down. So I’ll tighten this other side down.
AK Whatley (02:02): And this is something that, if this was my trailer, I would do it a little bit different so that we have a linear pull on this, instead of pulling it like this. We’ll probably stop at the first rest stop and we’ll replace it if we can get a different type of strap, and we’ll change this up, but this will get us to a first stop.
AK Whatley (02:26): Also keep in mind, when you’re hooking these up, after four or five miles, or after a little while, still go back and check to make sure that this stuff is tight, especially if it starts to rain, I’ve seen these things come loose quite a bit. So if my ratchet strap is on that end, instead of having to have these huge biceps, anybody can tighten this down, and basically what you’re doing, is I’m on one foot here, I’m going to use my body weight to pull this jeep down. So I’ve got it released and I’m just going to pull into it. So I’m not using my arms, I’m using my body weight to tighten this thing down, and when I’m tightening down this Jeep, a lot of people will tighten down the body of the vehicle. We have King shocks, let the shocks do their job. Let them make this thing really smooth.
AK Whatley (03:16): If you pull the bumper down supertight, then, if the suspension moves, let’s say you’ve got two, three inches of compression there, that spring is going to take, let’s see, it’s 400 pound spring or so on the front, so you’ll already be at 1,200 pounds of compression, times two, you’re at 2,400 pounds of compression. It’s going to take an awful lot to compress that spring, and if you’re pulling this down, then when that spring is trying to push back up, it can break these straps. So go to the axle, let the suspension do its job. It’ll be an awful lot smoother ride, whenever you’re going down the road, if you let those King shocks dampen the trailer.
AK Whatley (04:05): Me, I like to daisy chain these things, and I do that, I’m making a loop here, and just kind of pull it through like that, and that way, these aren’t coming loose. Make sure that that’s locked in. We’ll daisy chain this one and lock it in. Some people use zip ties. They also have Velcro straps that you can use on these. Oh nice, Velcro straps that you can use on those.
AK Whatley (04:56): There you go. On my trailers, I like to use a chain in the back, or two chains, that are cut to the right length for my buggy or my vehicle that I’m hauling. That way I can just set it in. It’s always going to be in the right spot. I don’t have to readjust it. I don’t have to think about it. Whenever I have straps set up for a trailer, I also like to cut the ends off and burn them with a lighter. That way I don’t have 55 foot of strap that I got to coil up every single time.

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