How to Use Tie Down Straps on a Pickup Truck

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How to Use Tie Down Straps on a Pickup Truck
(mitchgroff, John Weise and TBradleyDean via Flickr)

Ensuring that your cargo is properly secured to the back of your pickup truck is a simple safety issue. If your cargo is not secure, it can easily fly off. This not only poses the risk of you losing or damaging your property, it also endangers other vehicles and pedestrians on the road with you. For these reasons, using tie down straps and other securing options for your cargo is a part of being a responsible truck driver. Follow these steps to make sure that everything is secure.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tie down straps
  • Pickup truck
  • Tarp or netting
  • Cargo

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  1. 1

    Measure the truck bed to ensure that you have the right size straps and tarp or netting. Tie down straps and tarps come in multiple sizes. You will need tarps that cover your truck bed, and straps that can reach diagonally across the truck bed floor. It is best to use straps that are heavy-duty, adjustable in length, and have a quick-release function.

  2. 2

    Identify your anchor points. Anchor points are made of metal and have an opening wide enough to tie or clip your tie down straps. The location of anchor points vary based on truck model, but usually appear on the side railings of the truck bed. If you are carrying small cargo and do not have anchor points on your truck bed floor, it is a good idea to invest in some.

  3. 3

    Assess the size of your load and determine which anchor points are best suited to securing it. This will vary each time you load new and/or different objects.

  4. 4

    Attach the tie down straps to the anchors to tightly secure your cargo. Smaller loads may sometimes be strapped against the side of the truck bed by using anchor points at either end. Larger objects are usually best secured over the top of the object.

    How to Use Tie Down Straps on a Pickup Truck
  5. 5

    Cover your cargo with a tarp or netting, if you have more than one or two small objects in your load. Tarps and netting secure your cargo in preparation for being tied down. They can be secured to your anchor points with snaps or bungee cords. Tarps also prevent would-be thieves from viewing your cargo, and keep it dry in the event of rain or snow.

  6. 6

    Use additional tie down straps to secure your cargo by tying them on top of the tarp or netting. Loads are best secured by tying straps in an X formation across the truck bed, using floor anchors for cargo that sits close to the floor, and side anchors for taller cargo. Ensure that the straps are taught against the cargo.

    How to Use Tie Down Straps on a Pickup Truck

Tips and warnings

  • You may need to install additional anchor points to the floor of your truck bed in order to properly secure your cargo. Auto part stores sell these kinds of add-on anchoring systems, which are screwed or bolted to the truck bed floor. Ask a salesperson which type of anchors will best suit your needs.
  • If your cargo is not properly secured, it may fly off the back of the truck or through your back window in the event of sharp turns or sudden braking. Make sure that your cargo is always strapped down properly, and use caution when driving, particularly with heavy loads.

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