Correct use of a ratchet strap

11 October 2010

All too often one hears of a trip spoilt due to items that were supposed to have been secured correctly either falling off the roof rack and breaking or stuff coming adrift in the load box and rolling around damaging other equipment or even spilling fluid. All of which could be avoidable should the person packing the vehicle have used the ratchet strap in the correct fashion. Bear in mind that we are talking about expensive items of equipment here, in some cases even motorbikes incorrectly tied down on trailers have been known to come loose and fall over ! You are talking big bucks in terms of costly repairs.

As with all equipment ratchet straps should always be inspected before use, examine the webbing carefully for tears and loose stitching, if in doubt rather purchase a new ratchet, your safety as well as the safety of other road users is paramount! Follow these simple instructions to ensure that you never experience an incident of this nature when travelling on and off-road!

  • With the longer loose webbing section secured to an anchor point feed the webbing from the rear through the slot in the centre rotating spool of a closed ratchet.
  • Pull the webbing through and secure the ratchet strap to its anchor point leaving some slack.
  • Now crank the ratchet handle, the webbing will wind around the centre spool to take up the remaining slack and tighten thus securing the load.
  • Close the ratchet handle to secure the ratchet.
  • Double check to ensure the load is secure, webbing is flat and not twisted, corners are protected and tie off the loose webbing so that it will not flap in the wind.
  • Loosening takes place from the closed position.
  • Pull and hold the spring loaded release tab to override the ratchet gearing.
  • Open the ratchet by rotating the handle to a 180º position, it will click into the “detent” or loosened position
  • During this stage be observant of the position of the load, one should ensure that it does not slip or fall which often happens when motor bikes are released.
  • Now simply apply a gentle tug to generate enough slack to release the webbing from the ratchet mechanism.
  • Pull and hold the spring loaded release tab to release the ratchet from the detent position and close the ratchet.