The Complete Beginners Guide on Flatbed Winch Straps

Published on 08/10/21


If you are wondering how to use a winch strap, then this is the article for you. It will tell you everything that you need to know about using a winch strap on your flatbed hauling job. You may not realize how easy to use one of these straps are for loading and securing cargo. Let’s begin with the complete beginner’s guide on everything you need to know about Winch Straps.

Flatbed Winch Straps in use on a flatbed trailer

Why Winch Straps are Popular Among Truck Drivers


One of the reasons that Winch Straps are so popular amongst the professional trucking industry is the affordability these straps can offer compared to traditional ratchet straps. Along with these straps being much more affordable than other tie-down straps they are also able to secure some of the heaviest and oddly shaped cargo on the road. The way that Winch Straps work is simple as they are installed along the rub rails of the flatbed trailer and can create a versatile load securement within minutes that is extremely durable and heavy-duty.

The most popular sizes of Winch Straps by far are 2 inch and 4-inch wide winch straps that are made out of polyester tie-down webbing. Polyester Tie Down Webbing is the material of choice as it has a very high strength to stretch ratio that ensures your cargo remains safe and secure. Winch straps do not use any tie-down hardware to tighten these straps into a place they are much more affordable to replace if they become broken or damaged as well making these straps extremely cost-effective for most truck drivers and flatbed fleets. On average professional flatbed truck drivers replace their tie-down straps of choice every 90 days on average. This is due to the repetitive use and often sharp edges or friction burns can weaken the straps over time if you are not carefully causing the need to purchase replacement winch straps.

3 inch ratchet strap made for semis

How to tighten Winch Straps Instructions


1). Start by attaching the hook from the strap onto a side rail or d ring hardware.
2). Next, feed the free end of the strap into the winch or ratchet and begin to pull out the excess slack.
3). Make sure the strap is where you want it to be on the cargo load and begin to tighten the winch strap.
4). If you are using a winch the best way to ensure the strap is tight is by using a winch bar. If you are using a ratchet simply pump the handle until it reaches the desired tightness.

What is the longest length you can have on a Winch Strap?


The most common sizes of winch straps are 27 feet long and 30 feet long of tie-down webbing that connects to the installed winches along the rub rails of flatbed trailers. However, as being one of the leading manufacturers of Winch Straps in the United States we have the custom capabilities to make winch straps in just about any length of tie-down webbing that fits your securement applications best. If you are interested in learning more about our winch strap customization options give our experts a call at 800-483-2189 or by using our online contact we form located HERE.

How Long Do Winch Straps Normally Last?


The amount of time that your winch straps last can greatly depend on factors such as how often the straps are being used and if you are using any corner protectors to protect the straps as well. Corner Protectors can greatly increase the chances of your tie-down straps lasting longer by protecting sharp edges that could cause potential burns, cuts, or tears that could require you to completely replace your winch straps if you are not careful. This is one of the main things that you will want to avoid to make sure that your straps are not becoming damaged during transport.

In normal conditions, straps that are being inspected and protected with corner protectors can normally last quite a while with some straps needing to be repaired or replaced within several months. This is often why you may see flatbed truck drivers purchase several dozen straps at once as time is money in the professional trucking industry and downtime over several dollar products can end up costing you more in time not being spent by keeping the rig on the road.

Ratchet Straps Duffle Bag for Storing Ratchet straps

How to Correctly Store Winch Straps Between Uses


When it comes to storing winch straps one of the most important things to do is avoid locations that provide direct contact with the sun or moisture. Moisture that forms mold and UV Rays from direct sunlight can lead to damage to your straps if they are not stored properly making these straps needing to be replaced sooner rather than later. Some of the best ways to store these straps include putting them in a duffle bag or alternative dry bag that can be stored in the back of the semi-truck or a compartment inside of the truck or outside of the truck that isn’t prone to moisture from forming.

The different types of hardware options for Winch Straps


Wire HookWire Hooks are extremely durable and are made to be able to quickly latch into place on the other side of the flatbed trailer within seconds. This allows you to get your load secured faster to get you back on the road quicker with the peace of mind that you deserve.

Flat HookFlat Hooks are similar to wire hooks but are flat and hook into place along the other side of the flatbed trailer as well. These hooks are flatter and cover a wider surface area and are made with the same great materials as our wire hooks. This hardware is meant to be durable and a time saver for those who ship often.

Chain and HookChain and Hook is extremely able to use and simply hook into place on the one side of the strap. These are great for heavier or oddly shaped applications where securement points maybe not be widely available.

Forged Delta RingForged D Ring Winch Straps are one of our more popular types of winch straps and may work better for drivers in certain circumstances. These straps are made with our heavy-duty polyester tie-down webbing in the common sizes of 27 feet and 30 feet long, but can also be made to order in just about any length. Made to be durable at an affordable price point to keep you on the road for longer and your cargo safety as the number one priority.

Ratchet Straps vs Winch Straps


One of the main reasons that Winch Straps are much more popular over other traditional tie-down straps such as winch straps in the professional trucking industry is winch straps are much more cost-effective. When using Ratchet Straps for flatbeds you need heavier-duty ratchet hardware than the normal around-the-house ratchet strap. The Ratchet Hardware on these straps alone weighs over 7 lbs alone and is much less affordable per strap as it requires more expensive hardware to secure some of the heaviest loads on the road.

The Alternative to Ratchet Straps is Winch Straps which utilize the same great polyester tie-down webbing in both straps but do not use the expensive and heavy to transport ratchet hardware that comes along with ratchet straps. Winch Straps are installed and tightened along the sides of the trailer causing these straps to become much more cost-effective without risking the amount of securement the straps offer in the process. All of our winch straps and ratchet straps have a visible and clearly legible working load limit tag that shows you exactly what your tie-down straps are rated for to keep in compliance with the Department of Transport (DOT) industry standards as well as to keep you and other motorists on the road safe!

Semi Truck Loading Up at Night for the road with tie downs

Winch Straps vs Transport Chains for Flatbed Trailers


When it comes to deciding if flatbed winch straps or grade 70 transport chain is the better securement solution for your trailer there are a few aspects to consider. One of these aspects would be the price of using these to secure over time, winch straps are much cheaper to affordable as an initial investment but maybe more expensive over time as the years pass. This can also vary depending on the types of cargo as well, if you are going through straps often due to sharp edges you may want to consider the alternative and go with chains for durability and less prone to damage.

The number one priority for any driver is safety when securing, on the road with heavy loads, and the safety of other motorists. Some things to also consider are the maintenance and maintaining of these straps with winch straps being much easier to keep clean over the chain that requires more attention for quality checks as well. Winch Straps are attached to the sides of a flatbed trailer’s rub rail whereas chain can be difficult to store and maintain over time.

Flatbed loaded up with cargo using winch straps designed for tie down straps

How Winch Straps are secured on Flatbed Trailers


Winch Straps are installed along the rails of flatbed trailers along the rub rails and are placed above the cargo that you are securing on the flatbed trailer. Winch Straps are placed over the top of the cargo that you are intending on shipping and are latched into place on the other side of the trailer’s rub rail. These straps are tightened by using a winch bar that tightens the straps to the desired tightness within minutes you are ready to hit the road.

Winch Straps shine above other methods of cargo securement for load securements that come in odd shapes or even oversized cargo loads that are being transported on the back of flatbed trailers. Although using chains is a great alternative and is the way to go in certain situations it never hurts to use the cheaper long-term alternative for most cargo applications on the back of flatbed trailers.

Frequently Asked Winch Strap Questions


What colors do Winch Straps come in? – Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Black, Red, White, Olive Drab, Yellow with Edge Protection, and Blue with Edge Protection are the main types of tie-down webbing colors for flatbed winch straps.

Are these up to DOT Regulations? – Yes, they are approved with the general Department of Transportation guidelines that are set in place to keep you safe on the roadways.

Can these straps be used to secure Hay? – We’ve received great feedback from our customers who secure hay over the years and as long as you follow the correct working load limits you will be fine to secure hay or farm applications.

Do these straps work on Pallets? – Yes, Flatbed Winch Straps work great for pallet securement on flatbeds and also work better with the use of using corner protectors.