How to Release a Ratchet Strap

Updated November 21, 2016

Ratchet straps are an invaluable tool when it comes to strapping things down on a roof rack or a flatbed trailer. Releasing a ratchet strap can be a little confusing. The main parts of the ratchet are the crank handle, the centre latch and the drum. While the crank handle is moved back and forth the strap tightens around the drum. The centre latch is the mechanism that allows the crank handle to return to the start position and then ratchets the strap tight on the drum each time the crank handle is lifted. The centre latch is also the part of the ratchet that has to be disengaged to release the strap on the drum after being tightened.

Put the palm of your hand down on the crank handle and push down until you can't push it any further.

Lift the index and middle finger up over the handle of the centre latch. Grip and pull this latch toward your body until you see the centre latch release the drum on which the strap is wound.

Hook your thumb around the crank handle and lift the handle upward along with the centre latch until you can't lift any more and the ratchet is completely open. Let go of the handle.

Cradle the ratchet body in your hand and pull the entire unit toward you. The drum will spin, and the strap will unroll.

Pull the strap out of the drum.

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