Tips for Getting Better Use from Great Ratchet Straps

Ratchet straps are among the most important tools used by flatbed truckers. They keep cargo secure from point A to point B, sometimes in concert with chains, tarps, and bungee straps. Mytee Products carries a complete inventory of ratchet straps and cargo control equipment from well-known manufacturers.

The ratchet straps you buy from us are already top-of-the-line quality. But we have a few tips for getting better use out of them. With a little care and attention, you can extend the life of your straps.

Regularly Lubricate Ratchets

While the material used to make the straps is not bothered by weather, ratchets are. The best way to keep ratchets in good working order is to regularly lubricate them with a lithium grease. This is the same product auto mechanics use to lubricate car parts because it holds up very well even under extreme temperatures. It will wash away after time, which is why you need to apply regularly.

The key with lubrication is to hit all the moving parts. It doesn’t take much, either. Just a little spritz and a few seconds to work it in will keep everything working even on the coldest of days.

Thread from Underneath

When threading ratchets with new strap material, always run the strap from underneath the ratchet rather than over the top. This results in the short end being on the top while the main portion of the strap is below. Physics dictates the straps will slip a lot more easily when disengaged if threaded this way.

Leave Plenty of Room for Ratchet Extension

When tying down a load, keep in mind that the ratchet has to be extended beyond the gear teeth to release the tension pin that keeps the strap in place under load. It is a wise idea to leave enough space under the ratchet to be able to reach underneath and fully extend the ratchet to release it. If you do not leave enough space to pull down on the ratchet and fully extend it, you will have trouble releasing the strap to unload.

Do Not Let Extra Strap Hang Loose

Sometimes you have loads that are not tall enough to require the full length of your ratchet straps. So what do you do with the excess strap material? Truck drivers have all sorts of tricks for dealing with it. The one thing you do not want to do is let the excess strap hang loose. Loose strap flapping in the wind risks cargo damage and shortens the life of the strap material.

Some truck drivers roll the excess strap and then bind it with a bungee cord. Others tie a series of knots and tuck any remaining strap in under the tense part of the strap, or even under a tarp. Still others use a looping technique that utilizes the excess strap to secure it. There are dozens of ways to do it.

Our final tip is something that every truck driver should already be doing. Ratchet straps are tough and reliable, and are subject to wear and tear just like anything else. Therefore, it’s very important that truck drivers inspect their straps on a regular basis. Any strap showing signs of wear or tear needs to be addressed immediately. If you do not check your straps routinely, rest assured that roadside inspectors will.

Mytee products is here to serve you and your needs as a truck driver. We are your one-stop choice for ratchet straps, truck tarps, bungee cords, and everything else you need to do your job.


Aluminum Toolboxes: Organization Tips for Truckers

The average flatbed trucker has at least one toolbox affixed to his or her rig. Some have a large trailer toolbox and two aluminum step boxes to maximize storage space, and some drivers have even more. The thing to remember is that proper organization of aluminum toolboxes maximizes storage space and reduces the frustrations of not being able to find the tool you’re after when you need it.

What constitutes the right number and size of toolboxes isn’t for us to say. Every flatbed trucker has his or her own preferences. But Mytee can offer a few organizational tips to help truckers make the most of their storage space. Keep in mind that we carry a full inventory of aluminum toolboxes for truck drivers and pickup truck owners.

 

Organizing Tarps

Assuming you are the kind of trucker who stores tarps and toolboxes, the first rule of thumb is to consider which tarps you use most often. Let’s say you regularly haul lumber loads that require coverage on all sides. You are going to want those tarps easily accessible at all times.

You may have a selection of smaller smoke tarps or general purpose canvas tarps that you only use every once in a while for machinery loads. Because they are used less frequently, you can store them on the bottom of your toolbox in favor of putting your lumber tarps on top.

One thing to note is that tarps should never be put away while still wet. If throwing a wet tarp into a tool box is unavoidable at the time, it should be retrieved and dried out as soon as possible. Leaving tarps in long-term storage with moisture trapped in the folds is a good recipe for mold.

Organizing Tools

When it comes to tools, truckers need to separate things like ratchet straps and binders from the hand tools used to perform regular maintenance. It’s a good idea to keep them in separate toolboxes if you have the space. If not, divide existing toolbox into two separate compartments using a piece of scrap wood or metal.

Ratchet straps can be rolled up and stacked very neatly in one corner of the box. Chains can be coiled and stacked in another corner. Binders, hooks, and other similar tools can then be placed in the center of the compartment. As for those hand tools, keep them separated according to tool type. Put all your sockets in one location, all the wrenches in another, etc. Organizing hand tools is a lot easier if you invest in some shelves and smaller boxes that can fit inside your main toolbox.

Everything in Its Place

It should be obvious that the strategy we are promoting here follows that old adage that says, ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. The hard part is not necessarily finding a place for everything that needs to be stored. It is finding the most efficient place and then making sure that the items are returned to their places after use.

Few things are as frustrating as having a journey interrupted by some sort of failure and then not being able to find the tools you need to fix the problem. Equally frustrating is the task of securing a load and having to dig through your toolbox looking for the right straps or chains. Organizing your toolboxes changes all that.

An organized toolbox – where everything has a fixed place that never changes – is one that lends itself very well to efficiency and productivity. Take it from us; you’ll be glad you organized your equipment once you do it.


Why Headache Racks: The Definitive Answer

If we earned $100 every time a new flatbed truck driver asked us how the headache rack got its name, we might not have to sell trucking supplies to stay in business. Be that as it may, the question about the name of headache racks is as old as the rack itself.

For the record, a headache rack is a large piece of steel or aluminum mounted on the back of a truck cab. You see them on 18 wheelers and larger pickup trucks. Professional truck drivers often use their headache racks as a place to hang their chains and bungee straps.

For the remainder of this post, we want to talk about the name ‘headache rack’ and where it came from. If you are looking for a definitive answer, we have it: there is no definitive answer.

Protecting the Driver from Renegade Cargo

The first explanation of the headache rack name has to do with renegade cargo crashing through the back of a truck cab and injuring the driver. For a long time, there was a popular article circulating on the internet claiming that both the name and the device itself goes back to the days when surfing first became popular.

As the thinking goes, the racks were installed on pickup trucks to prevent harm to drivers if a surfboard were to break loose and crash through the back window. There’s only one problem with this theory: headache racks were around before surfing became popular. Second, you can spend all day traversing the roads of California and Hawaii, and you will probably never see a pickup truck with a headache rack carrying a load of surfboards.

There are other stories that use the same general theme without specifically referencing surfboards. The general idea being that headache racks are really the domain of pickup truck drivers attempting to protect their own heads.

Giving the Driver Headache

The second explanation is one that makes more sense where truck drivers are concerned. This explanation suggests that drivers, while working around their rigs securing cargo or doing maintenance, have a tendency to hit their heads on the metal racks. Unwittingly striking your head on such a large piece of metal would undoubtedly result in a headache.

If you are a professional truck driver, you are familiar with the scenario described here. Every truck driver has done it at least once, and many of you know drivers who do it routinely. Some hit their head so often that they have permanent marks. It is not a pleasant experience, to say the least.

We Have What You Need

The definitive answer about why headache racks are called as such is clear: there is no definitive answer. Therefore, there is no need for truck drivers to dispute or debate any longer. Far better to put your energies into being better drivers capable of delivering loads on time and in good condition.

As for the headache racks themselves, rest assured that Mytee Products has what you need. We have seven different models to fit a variety of needs and styles. We also carry installation kits, chain hangers, light brackets, and even tarp trays.

Your headache rack does not have to give you a headache at the time of purchase. Just shop the Mytee Products inventory to find what you’re looking for, make a quick purchase, and relax while we ship it right to your door. You’ll be protecting your head, or injuring it, in no time at all.


Ratchet Straps and Palletizing Strategies

On a beautiful spring day in central Florida, a flatbed truck was seen traveling down the road with a load of pallets packed with decorative paver stones. The pallets had been completely wrapped with shrink wrap before being loaded onto the trailer. To keep them secure, the driver ran two ratchet straps over each pallet row with large, plastic edge protectors between the straps and the cargo. This was the perfect setup for this kind of load.

Key to the driver’s strategy was securing the pallets from movement without damaging the paving stones. Now, it might seem a bit of overkill to use the edge protectors in light of the fact that the pallets were wrapped in shrink wrap, but shrink wrap does not cover the tops of pallet loads – just the sides. The highest layer of paver stones was fully exposed on the top surface. Edge protectors were necessary to protect the stones and ratchet straps alike.

Every Situation Is Different

The scenario described here is a perfect illustration of how wide the variation can be in palletized loads. For example, just because the shipper in this case used shrink wrap on the pallets doesn’t mean every shipper will do likewise. Paver stones are heavy enough that they will stay in place pretty much on their own, so some shippers will use a couple of aluminum straps along with large pieces of cardboard rather than shrink wrap.

How cargo is palletized really depends on the cargo itself and what the shipper believes is necessary to provide adequate protection. It is still the driver’s responsibility to get cargo to its intended destination without damage, regardless of how it is palletized. Therefore, it is not wise for drivers to rely on shippers and their palletizing strategies. Every situation is different.

In this case, all the driver needed to do to properly secure and protect the pallets was to have them stacked in rows before securing them with ratchet straps and corner protectors. If the palletizing method had been different, the driver might have had to choose another means of securing them.

This solution was relatively simple because all the pallets were of uniform size and height. Indeed, securing this load was probably one of the easiest things the driver ever had to do. There were no tarps involved, the weight of the pallets prevented them from being stacked, and the cargo itself was heavy enough that it was not prone to excessive movement.

The Right Kind of Equipment

As cargo and palletizing strategies are different, a flatbed driver has to keep a good supply of all the right equipment on board. In this case, it means ratchet straps and edge protectors. In other cases, drivers will need bungee straps, tarps of various sizes and materials, and even wood blocks to prevent cargo from moving. The inventory of necessary equipment can be rather extensive for truckers who are willing to haul just about anything.

Here at Mytee Products, we do our best to maintain a solid inventory of all the equipment and supplies to flatbed truck needs. We also strive to ensure that all the products in our inventory come from trusted brand names truckers know and recognize. This helps us to ensure quality with every product sold.

We have no way of knowing where the trucker in the scenario described here purchased his ratchet straps. But we can say that if they were purchased from Mytee Products, they were made with high-quality bedding material built to last. They were the perfect tool for securing that kind of load.


What a Good Cargo Control Inventory Looks Like

America’s truck drivers rely on Mytee Products for high-quality cargo control equipment and supplies. Why? Because we have everything that the average truck driver needs to get the job done. Furthermore, we might be able to find a unique piece even if it is not included in our standard inventory.

If you are building an inventory of cargo control supplies for your truck, it is a good idea to sit down and assess what you would need for the kinds of jobs you normally take. Visit a couple of trucking forums and ask for advice too. Other truckers will be happy to tell you what they recommend.

We can offer a bit of advice thanks to the time we have spent serving the trucking industry. We believe the items listed below make up the foundation of a good cargo control inventory. Keep in mind that we carry all of them. You can purchase online or visit us in person.

Winch and Ratchet Straps

Winch and ratchet straps are straps used to secure heavy cargo to flatbed trailers. Both are made of heavy duty webbing material and come in a variety of lengths and working load limits. The only difference between the two is how they are applied.

winch-strap

A winch strap is attached on one side of the trailer and secured to the other using a winch. Ratchet straps are secured using ratchet devices. The average trucker will need an adequate supply of both due to the fact that both winch and ratchet systems are used throughout the logistics industry.

Chains and Binders

Exceptionally heavy cargo that needs to be secured with something more than winch and ratchet straps may require heavy-duty chains with higher working load limits. G70 chains are standard in the trucking industry. Truckers can use these chains to secure everything from concrete piping to steel coils.

G70

Along with chains are the binders needed to make sure they are tightened down. There are several different styles of binders to choose from, so drivers have to consider what works best for them. Once again, Mytee has a full selection of chains and binders to choose from.

Bungee Straps

Truckers typically do not use bungee straps as a means of securing cargo firmly to the trailer. Rather, bungee straps are deployed for keeping tarps in place.

bungee-straps

Having an ample supply of bungee straps is always a good idea given that you never know when one will break or be lost. And because they are inexpensive, buying them in bulk is generally not a problem.

Corner and Edge Protectors

A good cargo control inventory is not without a complete selection of corner and edge protectors. These seemingly small and inconsequential pieces can actually be critical to getting certain kinds of cargo to its destination undamaged. Corner and edge protectors keep individual pieces of cargo safe from damage that could otherwise be caused by road vibration, cargo shifting, and the application of chains and straps.

 

Corner and edge protectors come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It is up to the trucker to determine what he or she needs for the kinds of loads typically carried. We are happy to say that corner and edge protectors are very inexpensive, like bungee straps, so buying in bulk ensures you always have enough on hand.

So there you have the basics of what a good cargo control inventory looks like. Feel free to add to your own inventory as you see fit. Whatever you do, remember this: the supplies you use to secure cargo matter. So choose wisely.