The 6 Best Ways to Safely Transport Vehicles Guide

Published on 06/07/19

Today we will be going over 6 of the best ways to safely transport your vehicle using some awesome car tie down tips from the car tie down experts at Ratchet Straps USA. Let’s begin.

The 6 Best Ways to Safely Transport Vehicles

Car Tied Down inside of Moving Van

Are you thinking about hauling your vehicle but arenʼt quite sure how to do it? Weʼve all been there. Lucky for you, you have come to the right place. Follow the steps in this article and you wonʼt end up like the guy in the picture above!

Inspecting Your Equipment Before Every Use

The number one thing to remember before securing a vehicle to a pickup trailer or flatbed is to always make sure to inspect your equipment before every use. It is crucially important to make sure all of your equipment is in good enough shape that it can be safely transported without the risk of falling off or tipping over. You can inspect your equipment by doing a simple walk around the vehicle before taking off to double check your tie downs or towing chains for any possible defects.

If you find any potential defects or any damage to hitches, ramps, tie-down straps, chains, or anchoring points for your vehicle the safety of your vehicles transporting might be jeopardized.

Next, you will want to make sure the vehicle, trailer, and preferred method of securement is able to hold the weight of your vehicle safely. You should never meet or exceed the tie down straps or trailers weight limits that are put into place in order to keep you and other motorists safe.

You can typically check the owners manual or working load limit tags to find out the maximum amount of weight that can be safely secured or hauled on the trailer before every use. Failure to use the properly rated tie downs greatly increases the chances of losing your vehicle during transportation, that could result in a serious accident or damage occurring to your vehicles.

How to hook up your Trailer the right way

How to hook up your trailer with chains

Now that you have checked all of your equipment before transporting your vehicle, it is now time to attach your trailer. If you have a smaller sized trailer that is lighter in weight it may be easier to park the truck near the trailer and simply lift the trailer onto the hitch by hand if possible.

Depending on the size of the trailer, this can be done by one or two peoples hand strength. Although, with the heavier trailers, this is obviously may not be the ideal option for you and you will need to back the hitch directly under the trailer and lower the jack onto the trailers receiver.

When backing up to a larger trailer or gooseneck trailer, an assistant or backup camera can be an invaluable help to make sure you are aligned with the hitch. Although we do not have backup cameras on our website you can typically find backup cameras to be found on websites like Amazon for a pretty cheap price if you intend on transporting vehicles often. One of the best unknown secrets for professional shippers is using a piece of PVC pipe that is taped to your hitch can be an effective tool. This allows you to use the PVC pipe as a guide to show you where your hitch is at in relation to the trailer receiver.

Pull up far enough in order to see the receiver in your rearview mirror and line the PVC pipe up with the hitch. If done correctly you should be able to back right up to the trailer with no issues. When you hear the pipe tap the receiver you are close enough to secure the trailer to the hitch to get started transporting your vehicle.

Once the hitch and the receiver are lined up you will want to drop the trailer all the way onto the hitch, then make sure it is locked down into place by securing the locking mechanism on the trailers receiver. Next, attach your wiring for your lights on the trailer to the vehicle if needed and make sure to secure your emergency chains. Check to make sure that your trailer lights, turn signals and brake lights are all in working condition before loading your vehicle onto the trailer.

Loading the Vehicle onto the Trailer

Unlike some of the previous steps before this, we strongly advise against loading your vehicle by yourself. Using a spotter is a much safer alternative to blindly driving your vehicle up to the ramps and begin loading by yourself. You will want to start your approach a good distance away from the trailer and have your guide make sure that you are pulling straight up the ramps with all four tires.

Not pulling straight forward when going up the ramps could result in the wheels of the trailer to slip off and cause major damage to your vehicle. It is important to remember that although your steering wheel may be straight the alignment may have the tires slightly off target causing the wheels to slide off.

Whether you are wanting to pull forward or load backward on the trailer is determined by your own personal preference. However, we greatly encourage you to load the heaviest part of the vehicle’s weight toward the front of the trailer to lower your chances of fishtailing, as you can see in the video below.

The motion of the car going up the ramps can sometimes be abrupt so do not panic! As long as you are pulling straight up the ramps you will be fine. Some lower to the ground vehicles might require you to use wooden boards to decrease the angle of the ramps in order to avoid scraping. You will want to make sure to tell your spotter to notify you when the center of your vehicle is just ahead of the axles of the trailer. Once you are in the middle of the trailer you will want to put the car in park and begin to secure your vehicle accordingly.

You will want to make sure that the weight of your load is closer to the front of the trailer rather than the back of the trailer having the most weight. This prevents fishtailing and gives you the most control of your trailer and vehicle that is being secured on the trailer. Having the weight of the trailer toward the back of the trailer prevents you from having much control of the vehicle which could end up causing you an accident if you are not careful.

Truck Tied Down with Car Tie Downs

Securing the vehicle to the trailer

Once you have the vehicle moved onto the trailer the next step you will want to take is using some sort of tie down securement method to make sure the vehicle doesn’t move during transport. Car Tie Down Straps are arguably the most popular types of vehicle securement methods by far. You can find more about car tie downs inside of our car tie down the portion of our website found here.

When selecting Car Tie Downs it is important to account for the movement of the vehicle during transit. Just because the vehicle you may be hauling is 2,000 pounds does not mean you should use a strap rated for 2,000 pounds. We recommend using Ratchet Straps that are rated for at least 2x as much weight to account for the moving and swaying motion of the vehicle when the trailer moves.

Axle Tie Downs

There are two different securement options that use straps: Over the Wheel Straps and Axle Straps. Over the wheel tie down straps use either a strap or a series of straps that from a net around the wheel to secure the vehicle to the trailer. For this method, the strap goes directly over the wheel to lock the wheels in place and prevent the vehicle from moving.

Wheel Tie Down Straps Axle Straps are used to secure the car to the trailer by wrapping around the axle or some other securement point on the frame. Make sure you do not wrap the Axle Straps around any brake lines or hoses because they can easily be ripped off if you hit any big bumps or brake too hard. Axle Straps are typically paired with a Snap Hook to secure them to the trailer.

Once you have the Car Tie Down Straps where you want them, ratchet them as hard as you possibly can. The last thing you want is for your vehicle to shift while you are transporting it.

If all the straps are tightened it is standard practice to attach the tow chain to the front of the car. This chain is designed to catch the car in the event of a Car Tie Down failing. When you have all of the tie downs securely tightened to the trailer, put the vehicle in gear and apply the emergency brake to prevent the car from rolling.

Double Checking Your Securement

We cannot stress enough the importance of double checking all of your work. Securing the trailer and using the Car Tie Downs are both processes that have a lot of steps. There are a lot of little things that you could forget or do incorrectly and failing to check at the very end could prove to be disastrous. Disastrous not only for you but for everyone around you on the road. Just make a checklist in your mind of things that you need to do and check them one at a time. This last check can be the difference between life and death so it is not to be taken lightly.

Take Your Time!

All of the steps before this one in the article are important. You need the right equipment, that equipment needs to be strong, and you need to know how to use it properly. It is important to double check everything multiple times and to fix anything that is broken. While this is all true, one of the best ways to ensure that you and your load make it safely to the destination is to SLOW DOWN! We have seen far too many accidents from people that are simply going too fast.

Speed Limit Sign for Cars

Driving as if you do not have a trailer behind you is foolish and reckless. The maximum speed limit for a vehicle hauling a trailer in most states is 55 miles per hour. These speed limits are in place for a reason and should be followed closely. Failure to follow the speed limit greatly increases your chance of an accident and endangers those around you unnecessarily.

You can find the products linked in todays blog post tips by clicking any of the words below

Car Tie Down Straps
Axle Tie Down Straps
Car Tie Down Bundle Set

If you have any questions our car securement experts are standing by and are willing to help provide further information or recommend products that work best for your car securement needs. You can reach our experts by using our online contact form located here or by giving us a call at 800-483-2189 today. We look forward to being able to assist you with any questions you may have.