How to inspect your Ratchet Straps

Published on 03/16/18

In the shipping industry using ratchet straps properly are crucial. Here are some tips on how to inspect your ratchet straps.
Ratchet Straps tie downs ATV

How to inspect your Ratchet Straps for Any Potetial Damage or Defects

When you are looking over your ratchet straps or tie downs you may have it’s always important before you begin to use or store the straps for another time to check for safety. In the transportation industry, it is estimated that over 12.4 billion tons of debris liter our highways every year in the United States alone from improper shipping techniques. Today we will be showing you what to look for when the time comes to replace your ratchet straps and when to know it is time to replenish your tie downs.

Not only can the debris on the road be bad for the environment, motorists, and potentially even cause life-threatening injuries depending on the cargo that fly off but the penalties can be extreme, even if it was just an accident involving large fines and potential jail time.

List of Potential Ratchet Straps Defects

So let’s begin with what you should look for before using or storing your ratchet straps. Firstly, never use a ratchet strap or tie down if you have any concerns or thoughts of the straps being unsafe. Chances are if you have to question if the strap is safe to use or not that the tie down is not safe to be used on the road. Tie downs can become damaged from normal everyday wear and tear over time so it’s important to check the straps once before you tie down cargo and once you unload the cargo.

Some of the main things to look out for in the tie downs for potential defects include a missing working load limit or the working load limit is not legible or readable. This can be highly unsafe practice to use and it is illegal in most states by the Department of Transportation.If the tie down straps is a different color than original that may have been caused by the ultraviolet light from the sun it’s just as dangerous as any worn out stitches or cuts in the webbing to use. They will need to be replaced.

If the Ratchet Straps become wet from moisture they will need to be completely dried out before the next use due to potential stretching of the webbing that may cause potential load shifts as the straps dry. If you do decide to ship with wet straps which we highly don’t recommend you will need to secure the straps several times every mile or two as the moisture comes out. Any signs of mold or mildew caused by moisture in the air or rain on the tie downs will need to be replaced as the mold will weaken the tie downs working load limit and breaking strength over time.

Ripped Tie Down

When to Replace your Ratchet Straps

Any visible damage such as holes, weakened fabric such as strings, or any other material such as metal shavings or anything similar being stuck inside of the polyester or nylon webbing depending on your application uses such as securing or towing.

When you think it is time to replace your tie downs it’s never a good idea to wait. Be safe. Replace. Some of the best ways to staying safe in the cargo control industry start by using good judgment. If you have any doubts about the strength or the safety of the tie down it is never a good idea to risk and find out later that you potentially were indeed unsafe and cause a potential accident.

Did you know the most common methods of ratchet straps and tie downs needing to be replaced is caused by weather? Some of the forms of weather that cause damage to tie down straps are through UV rays from the sun causing damage to the webbing and weakening the strengthened webbing. As well as any wetness caused by moisture from rain can weaken the straps in forms of mold and mildew. Which can be destructive to your tie downs.

How often should you inspect Ratchet Straps and Tie Downs?

You should always thoroughly inspect your ratchet straps or tie downs before using the ratchet straps each time and at the end of using the ratchet straps as well to inspect for any potential damage that has occurred. Another good tip to follow would be to inspect the straps every couple of weeks or months throughout the not using them period.

The basic rule of thumb should be that the more you inspect the straps the safer they will be short term and long term due to knowing the industrial strength of your tie-down straps. Make sure to inspect the ratchet, tie down webbing, stitching, and check every strap for any visible defects. The most minor of details of defects can cause chaos for your cargo load at any given time.

How long do Ratchet Straps Last?

Ratchet straps will typically last depending on the ratchet straps assembly choices anywhere from typically 2 years and upwards of 4 years or more depending on the usage and how they have been protected from sunlight, wet weather, moisture, mold, mildew, and if the straps have Cordura sleeves protecting the webbing from friction.

The amount of time that a Ratchet Strap or Tie Down Strap may last is ultimately dependent on how the straps are handled. If you use proper care with storing and while using the tie downs you have a much longer lifespan of the straps. Typically you can expect any tie-down strap to last between 2-5 years on average depending on how heavily used they are and if they were cared for. The older the straps the more you should consider replacing them as they can weaken over time and could be dangerous using older ratchet straps.

How do Ratchet Straps become Damaged?

Some of the main ways in which Ratchet straps can become damaged is through the normal everyday strains and stress on the polyester or nylon webbing depending on the type of tie downs you are using for each application. A ratchet straps and tie downs job is securing and making sure something doesn’t come undone. Which… can be a strain due to the amount of weight it undergoes at times.

A few of the other ways that ratchet straps can be damaged is through tie downs being dragged down the road.

1). Ratchet Straps rubbing against metal or wooden floors while going down the road on the back up a flatbed trailer causing friction which in return causes weakened ratchet straps.

2). Any short term or long term knots from improperly securing or storing the tie down straps

3). Broken, crushed, worn out stitches from use over time

4). Cuts, tears, snags, melting, burns, wear, and tear can also be big issues to any tie down straps or ratchet straps you have.