How to use ratchet tie-down straps

Written by frank whittemore
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A ratchet tie-down strap is a useful tool for securing objects for transport. The device has a long strap made of nylon webbing that has a ratchet assembly attached to one end. The ratchet is a frame that holds a gear-operated axle that the strap winds onto and a handle to operate the axle to wind the strap. A spring-loaded release button, called the pawl, releases tension on the ratchet when pressed to allow the tie-down strap to be removed.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  • Ratchet tie-down strap

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  1. 1

    Place the webbing strap around the object to be secured and what you will secure the object to, such as the rails or hooks within a truck bed.

  2. 2

    Position the ratchet so that it is easy to reach and will not damage the object being secured when the strap is tightened.

  3. 3

    Insert the end of the webbing strap through the slot in the ratchet's centre axle. Pull the strap to take up the slack and make the strap as tight as possible by hand.

  4. 4

    Pump the handle on the ratchet to wind the webbing strap onto the axle, tightening the strap around the object. Continue to pump the ratchet until the strap is tight enough to hold the object securely.

  5. 5

    Press the release pawl in the centre of the ratchet to release the gears in the ratchet. Open the ratchet handle to release tension on the strap. Pull the strap to unwind it from the ratchet's axle.

Tips and warnings

  • Some ratchet straps also come in two sections, with a strap and hook on one section and the ratchet and another hook on the other section. The strap and ratchet work in the same manner as the typical ratchet tie-down strap.
  • To protect objects that may be damaged by pressure or rubbing from the tie-down strap, place a shipping blanket or foam bolsters between the strap and the object.

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