Learn How to use Ratchet Straps Like the Pros: Step-by-Step Guide

Published on 01/27/23

Updated on 1/30/24

Polaris Sling Shot Tied Down With Ratchet Strap

What is a Ratchet Strap?

A ratchet strap is a device used for securing cargo or equipment. It consists of a strap with a ratcheting mechanism on one end and a hook on the other. The ratcheting mechanism allows you to tighten the strap around your load, and the hook attaches to a fixed point, such as the bed of a truck. Think of it like a giant, heavy-duty belt that you use to keep things in place while you’re on the move.

These ratchet straps are built to handle any load you’ve got. They’re made from heavy-duty polyester webbing that’s 1 to 4 inches wide, so they’re strong enough to keep even the heaviest cargo in place. Plus, the webbing won’t stretch much, so you can trust that your load will stay secure. Whether you’re hauling stuff in the bed of a pickup, a moving van, or on a flatbed trailer, these straps come in various sizes and ratings to keep you and your cargo safe on the road.

Ratchet straps are all the rage for keeping cargo in place. They’re so popular because the ratchet handle only moves in one direction and with every click, you’re tightening the strap and getting rid of any extra slack. These bad boys are built to last, made from durable metal that can withstand the test of time. Plus, you can find them in a variety of different finish coatings like black, zinc, or stainless steel for use in aquatic applications, depending on how you plan to use them.

How to tighten a ratchet strap 8211 threading a ratchet strap How to tighten a ratchet strap into place

How to Tighten a Ratchet Strap Instructions

Alright folks, pay attention because I’m about to show you how to tighten a ratchet strap like a pro.

Step 1: Lay the strap over your cargo and adjust it so it’s in the right position.
Step 2: Take the end of the strap with the ratchet handle and hold it in one hand.
Step 3: Use the other hand to turn the ratchet handle in a clockwise direction. You’ll hear a clicking sound as you turn, that’s the strap getting tighter.
Step 4: Keep turning the ratchet handle until the strap is as tight as you need it to be. You don’t want any excess slack.
Step 5: Once you’ve got the tension you want, double-check to make sure the cargo is secure and you’re good to go.

It’s that simple folks! Just remember, the key is to keep turning that ratchet handle until the strap is nice and tight.

how to release a ratchet strap instructions

How to Release a Ratchet Strap Instructions

Alright folks, now that you know how to tighten a ratchet strap, let’s go over how to release it. It’s just as easy as tightening it.

Step 1: Locate the release lever on the ratchet handle
Step 2: Push down on the release lever
Step 3: While holding the release lever down, turn the ratchet handle in a counterclockwise direction.
Step 4: Keep turning until the strap is loose enough to remove it from your cargo.
Step 5: Once the strap is loose, release the lever and you’re done.*
Easy peasy, right? Just remember to always keep an eye on the release lever and turn the ratchet handle in the opposite direction of tightening to release the tension. And you’re all set!

Torn Ratchet Straps

How to Inspect Ratchet Straps for Damage

When it comes to ratchet straps, safety should always be the top priority. Before using or storing your straps, it’s crucial to inspect them for any potential defects or signs of wear and tear. If you have any doubts about the safety of a strap, do not use it.

Here are a few things to look out for when inspecting your straps:

Missing or unreadable working load limit labels – Not only is this unsafe, but it’s also illegal in most states according to the Department of Transportation.

Discoloration of the webbing – If the strap is a different color than when you first bought it, this may be caused by UV light from the sun, which can weaken the webbing and make it unsafe to use.

Moisture damage – If your straps become wet, they need to be completely dried before the next use. Moisture can cause stretching of the webbing and potential load shifts. Also, if you see any signs of mold or mildew, these straps will need to be replaced as they can weaken the tie-down working load limit and break strength over time.

It’s also important to check your straps once before you tie down cargo and once you unload the cargo. Remember, even with normal wear and tear, ratchet straps can become damaged over time. By being vigilant and replacing straps that show signs of wear and tear, you can ensure the safety of your cargo. Check out our full guide on How to Inspect Your Ratchet Straps.

WLL Label

What is a Working Load Limit Rating?

A Working Load Limit (WLL) Rating is the maximum working load designed by the manufacturer as safe to use. You may sometimes hear the working load limit also called the Safe Working Load (SWL). This number is determined by taking the ultimate amount of force before breaking, also known as the breaking strength, and dividing this number by a fraction of three. For example, a 10,000 lb Breaking Strength tie-down strap may have a Working Load Limit (WLL) or Safe Working Load Limit of 3,333 lbs.

Breaking Strengths are determined by running a test to see the ultimate amount of force before the straps were to fail. Remember, tie-down straps are only as strong as the weakest link of the strap. It’s important when securing cargo to always follow the manufacturer’s working load limit rating tag that is sewn on the tie-down strap and to never exceed this limitation.

Exceeding this working load limit rating may cause serious injury to other motorists, and cause the cargo to come unsecured. It could cause large fines to be issued from the Department of Transportation (DOT).

When securing cargo it’s important to use enough straps that if a strap were to fail from a sudden brake, rapid acceleration, friction burns, or lane change your cargo would remain safe in place until you could add a tie-down strap.

This is why it’s important to secure cargo from at least four different securement points to help prevent load shifts and help keep your cargo safe in place. If you have any questions regarding Working Load Limit Ratings you can give our experts a call at 800-483-2189 and we would be happy to assist you with ratchet strap recommendations for your cargo securement load needs.

Check out our entire guide on How to understand Working Load Limits.

Shop our popular Ratchet Straps

Ratchet Straps Treestand Straps

Frequently Asked Ratchet Strap Questions

What sizes do Ratchet Straps come in? – When it comes to Ratchet Straps, size matters. These bad boys come in widths ranging from 1 inch to 4 inches and can be custom-made to fit your securement needs like a glove. And let me tell you, the options are endless.

You can choose the length of the webbing, the hardware, the color of the webbing, and even the fixed end length of the strap. And if you don’t see the exact option you’re looking for, don’t sweat it. We can work with you to create the perfect strap that fits your securement needs like a dream. So, don’t wait any longer, give us a call at 800-483-2189 or hit us up on our website’s contact us form, and let’s get this show on the road!

How Long Do Ratchet Straps Last? – When it comes to the lifespan of a ratchet strap, it’s all about usage and care, baby. For those who are hauling cargo on the regular, these straps might only last a few months. But for those who only use them occasionally, they can last for several years. The key is proper care. Make sure to use corner protectors, to keep the straps in tip-top shape. And remember, a little bit of TLC goes a long way when it comes to prolonging the life of your ratchet straps.

Different Sizes of Tie Down Webbing used to make ratchet straps

What is the most common size of Ratchet Straps? – When it comes to ratchet straps, size is everything. And when it comes to versatility and heavy-duty strength, nothing beats the 2-inch width. These straps are the most common for a reason. They can secure an endless variety of cargo, whether it’s in a dry van trailer with an e-track system, the back of a moving van, the bed of a pickup truck, or even transporting your vehicle down the road. And with a wide range of customization options and hardware, the possibilities are endless. So, if you’re looking for a ratchet strap that can handle just about anything, look no further than the trusty 2-inch Ratchet Straps.

How do you Thread a Ratchet Strap? – Now, let’s get to the fun part: threading the strap. Start by threading one end of the strap through the ratchet handle. Then, thread the other end of the strap through the end-fitting hardware. This is typically a hook or a D-ring, but it can vary depending on the type of cargo you’re securing.

Once the strap is threaded through the hardware, you’re ready to begin ratcheting. Hold the ratchet handle in one hand and use the other hand to pull the strap tight. Make sure to keep an eye on the tension as you pull. You want the strap to be tight enough to secure the cargo, but not so tight that it damages the cargo or the strap.

As you pull the strap, you’ll notice that the ratchet handle will begin to click. This is normal and it means that the ratchet is engaging and locking the strap in place. Keep pulling and ratcheting until the strap is as tight as you need it to be.

Remember, when it comes to ratchet straps, the most important thing is to always pay attention to the tension and the cargo being secured. If the strap is too tight, it can cause damage and you should release some tension. If the strap is not tight enough, it can cause the cargo to move around and fall which could be dangerous. Always use the correct end-fitting hardware and always inspect your equipment before using it.

Do you need Heavy Duty Webbing on Ratchet Straps? – When it comes to ratchet straps, heavy-duty webbing is key to ensuring extra durability against cuts, burns, and harsh weather conditions. Trust us, we’ve seen it all – the webbing is often the first thing to fail on ratchet straps that see heavy use.

But with heavy-duty webbing and corner protectors, your straps will last longer and you’ll have to replace them less often. Our 1-inch wide heavy-duty webbing boasts a breaking strength of 6,600 lbs – the strongest in the industry – and is built to withstand the toughest conditions.

Ratchet Straps Duffle Bag for Storing Ratchet straps

How Do You Properly Store Ratchet Straps? – When it comes to storing ratchet straps, there are a few key methods that can help keep them safe and long-lasting: tie-down duffle bags, socks, Ziplock bags, rubber bands, and zip ties. Remember, proper storage is essential for prolonging the life of your ratchet straps – without it, they may only last 2-3 years. But with the right storage techniques, you can expect your straps to last much longer.

At Ratchet Straps USA, we are a leading supplier of replacement tie-down straps, so even if your straps do break from heavy use, you can easily replace just the short or long end, saving you money and giving you a practically brand-new strap at a fraction of the cost. Follow our ratchet strap storage techniques, and your straps will outlast those who don’t. You can view our full blog on How to Store Ratchet Straps Properly.

Corner Protector for Ratchet Straps to protect tie down webbing

What are some of the benefits of using Corner Protectors with Ratchet Straps? – Strap protectors offer several benefits that can help ensure your cargo arrives at its destination in one piece.

Here are just a few reasons to use them:
• They can significantly extend the life of your tie-down straps, even with heavy use.

• By preventing over-tightening, they can protect your cargo from damage.

• Corner protectors not only safeguard your straps, but they can also protect your customer’s cargo from dings and dents.

• Boxes sent in the back of a trailer, pickup truck, or semi-truck can arrive at their destination without being crushed or otherwise damaged. There’s nothing worse than receiving a package you’ve been waiting for, only to find it’s been mishandled during transit.

• Happy customers who receive their packages on time and in good condition are more likely to do business with you again in the future.

How Do Ratchet Straps Become Damaged? – Ratchet straps are essential tools for securing cargo, but they’re not immune to wear and tear. The constant strain of holding weight can take its toll, but that’s not the only way these straps can become damaged.

For example, imagine a flatbed trailer hauling heavy cargo down the road. The straps are rubbing against metal or wooden floors, causing friction that weakens the webbing. Or, maybe the straps are improperly secured or stored, leading to knots that wear down the material over time.

Even something as simple as broken, crushed, or worn-out stitches from regular use can weaken the straps. And let’s not forget about the more obvious forms of damage: cuts, tears, snags, melting, burns, and general wear and tear.

All of these factors can add up to damaged ratchet straps, which can compromise the safety of your cargo. So, it’s important to be vigilant and replace straps that show signs of wear and tear, before it’s too late.

Going down the river in a Kayak with friends

How to secure a Kayak using Ratchet Straps – When it comes to safely transporting a kayak on top of your vehicle ratchet straps are a great option. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use them:

1). – Center your kayak on top of your vehicle and make sure it’s running parallel to the roof.

2). – Take a strap and place it on the side of the kayak, a few inches above or to the side of your vehicle’s crossbars.

3). – Bring the other end of the strap over the kayak, grab the end, and loop it underneath your vehicle’s crossbars to prevent it from slipping off.

4). – Repeat this process for any additional straps you plan to use. As well as any additional kayaks you will be securing while on your next outdoor adventure.

5). – Ratchet the straps until the kayak is snug, but be careful not to overtighten. Too much tension can deform the kayak. Typically pulling the strap until it is firm and an additional 2-3 clicks are all it takes to secure most kayaks safely. If you feel the kayak is not safely secured you can use several additional clicks of the ratchet hardware as needed.