How to Use Ratchet Straps: Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide with Straps Pictures

Ratchet straps are cargo tie-down straps made of polyester webbing. They are run through a buckle that lets you loosen and tighten the strap, so you can lengthen the strap until you can pull it across your entire load, then tighten the strap until there’s enough tension to secure the load. Occasionally, we are asked how to use ratchet straps and what straps are for.

Ratchet straps can tie down a load by securing it to the floor of a flatbed truck. They can also be used to tie down and secure a piece of cargo to the sides of the interior of an enclosed trailer. It can connect to anchor points in the side of a flatbed truck, like D-rings, and can also latch onto anchor points on the floor of the truck bed for easy tightening and are essential flatbed trailer accessories for heavy-duty cargo securement.

Types of Ratchet Straps As per Use and Application

All ratchet straps are made of polyester webbing and some have reinforced sides to resist cuts and tears, while still maintaining their softness and flexibility. This softness makes them ideal for hauling cargo that needs a bit of care, like beehives, trees, or furniture.

It works by running over the top of an entire piece of cargo to secure it. Therefore, some very large types of cargo, like cars, aren’t compatible with these straps. In fact, if you’re going to haul cars, you’ll need specialty auto-hauling straps.

Ratchet straps come with a variety of end-fittings, so you can use them to secure your load on trucks with different kinds of anchor points. Straps might be fitted with wire hooks, grab hooks, flat hooks, chains, or S-hooks. The end-fitting you need depends on the type of anchor points on the floor or walls of your truck.

Know the Types of Ratchet Tie-Down Straps

When Can You Use Ratchet Straps?

Unlike winch straps, ratchet straps do not require your truck to have trailer winches installed along the sides. You shouldn’t discredit winches, though! Winches wind and unwind your polyester webbing straps, so they can be useful for some projects. For more information about winch straps, go through the details of winch straps.

When compared to winch straps and ratchet tie-down straps can be secured independently to any kind of anchor point on the floor or side of your trailer. This makes them preferred among most flatbed truckers. You can use them whenever you need to secure a piece of cargo for transport.

Always make sure your load doesn’t exceed the straps’ working load limit before you begin hauling. If it does, you might have to use multiple straps in short length-wise intervals to disperse the tension enough to secure the load safely. Or, it may be more appropriate to use a winch strap or a G70 chain to secure your cargo, rather than a ratchet strap.

How to Use Ratchet Straps – 9 Easy Steps

Time needed: 10 minutes

Steps to follow while using the ratchet steps.

  1. Use Release Catch to Open Ratchets

  2. Close and Flip the Ratchet

  3. Thread the Strap Through Open Slot

  4. Secure the End-Fittings

  5. Pull the Free End of The Strap

  6. Tighten The Ratchet

  7. Close and Lock Ratchet Handle

  8. Pull and Hold The Release Handle

  9. After Usage; Inspect, Wrap, Store

Below are each essential steps with the pictures and process; that will definitely help you to under how the ratchet straps mechanism works.

Step 1: Use Release Catch to Open Ratchets

  • Use the release catch – also called the release lever – to lift up the ratchet handle and axle simultaneously, so that the open slot is pointing up. 
  • The release catch is located at the center of the movable top of the ratchet. 
  • You’ll feed the strap through this opening in step 3.

Step 2: Close and Flip the Ratchet

  • Close the ratchet in such a way that lets you access the axle assembly. 
  • You can do this by pulling up on the release catch and flipping the ratchet so the cogs (spiked wheels) are facing upwards.

Step 3: Thread the Strap Through Open Slot

  • Take the open slot at the bottom of the ratchet (mandrel) and then thread the free end of the strap by bringing the strap underneath the ratchet and pushing it up through the open slot. 
  • Wind it around the axle, and then slip the strap back through the same opening you used before. 
  • The strap should lay straight and overlap with the second half of the strap on the opposite side of the ratchet.

Step 4: Secure the End-Fittings

  • Take the attached end-fittings on both ends – flat hook, chain anchor, etc. – of the strap and place them into position.

Step 5: Pull the Free End of The Strap

  • Pull the free end of the strap until it’s taut, so there’s no slack between the two ends of the strap. 
  • If you have too much excess webbing not pulled through the mandrel, you risk jamming the ratchet when you begin tightening. 
  • Remember: you can always tighten it later on in the process, don’t worry about its length!

Step 6: Tighten The Ratchet

Pump The Ratchet Handle
  • Pump the ratchet handle to get rid of any remaining slack and tighten the strap. When you do this, you should see the strap wrapping around the axle. 
  • Once it feels taut and secure, stop ratcheting. 
  • Be careful not to over-tighten! Too much pressure and stress can damage the cargo your tear/break your strap. 
  • If you can’t fit at least one finger between the strap and your cargo, that’s a good sign it’s been overtightened and you should loosen the strap. 
  • You will need to find the happy middle ground between being secure but not too tight.

Step 7: Close and Lock Ratchet Handle

  • When the strap is finally completely taut, close the ratchet handle completely. 
  • Lock the strap in place. You can do this by flipping the ratchet back into the closed position and pressing it closed until you hear it latch closed. 
  • If you don’t hear a click, tug on the strap and buckle to ensure its security. If it comes loose, find and use a different ratchet strap – it may be faulty!

Step 8: Pull and Hold The Release Handle

Pull and Hold The Release Handle
  • To unbuckle the straps, pull and hold the release handle. The release tab should be easily accessible at the top of the ratchet. 
  • This will override the ratcheting function and thus release the lock, opening the ratchet handle. 
  • Then, the strap will come loose and you can easily pull it through the axle slot. 
  • Flip the ratchet open so it lays flat and pulls the strap out from the ratchet’s hold.

Step 9: After Usage; Inspect, Wrap, Store

  • When you’re done using your ratchet strap, wrap it up and tie it with a rubber band. 
  • Once the strap is secure, put the strap and ratchet gear in a dry case or bag. 
  • Check for any tears, damages, or elongation/deformation of the ratchet itself, the end-fittings, and the strap. If you see any damages, you know to replace your trucking accessories before the next job!

Also Read Ratchet Straps Care and Maintenance Tips

Quality of Mytee Ratchet Straps

At Mytee, we offer incredible strength options, including the Kinedyne K-force Ratchet strap. This tie-down strap has a phenomenal, 4000-lbs Working Load Limit: 20% stronger than the next strongest strap in the market.

No matter what strength or length of strap you need, Mytee has a variety with an end that fits your truck.

All of our tie-down straps are high-quality, and they cost less than you’ll find anywhere else. These straps will keep your cargo safe, so you can haul safe and earn more.

View this video guide to get a visual understanding of how ratchet tie-down straps work.

How to Use Ratchet Straps Video by Mytee Products

It’s important to correctly follow the instructions demonstrated in this article for securing cargo properly and safely. Cargo straps can help make the transportation of cargo of various sizes easy and provides you confidence in your cargo control while on the road! But, you must secure them properly each and every time, as well as routinely inspect the ratchet and straps for damages before use.

Also Read Interesting Things about Ratchet Straps


How to use ratchet straps on a truck trailer or van?

Once your load is secured in or on your truck, you should place the ratchet strap over the cargo and hook the ends over the side of the truck’s bed or in the lashing rings/anchor points/grooves on the van’s wall. Ratchet the strap until it feels taut and check that it’s secure. Lock the strap securely. If you use the proper amount of straps necessary to keep your cargo stable, you should be able to transport the load safely in your truck bed or van with ratchet cargo straps!

How to connect two ratchet straps together?

It’s possible to connect two E-Track straps end-to-end. They must be designed to do so, though. However, you won’t have a long ratchet strap so this is best for very small or flat cargo transportation.

How often to replace ratchet straps?

If you take good care of your ratchets and cargo straps, a strap should last you between 2 and 4 years. Never use a strap if there’s clear abrasive wear and tear, cuts, or any hardware deformation in the ratchet itself. Inspect your straps and ratchets after every job, and replace your trucking accessories the moment you notice damages!

How to use ratchet straps for a kayak?

Using ratchet straps and cam straps are terrific ways to tie down your kayaks to the top of a vehicle or in a truck bed. Make sure your kayak is centered and running parallel to the top of your vehicle.
Take a strap and position it so it’s resting on the side of the kayak a few inches above or to the side of the car’s crossbars. Bring the other end over your kayak, grab the end of the strap, and loop it underneath your vehicle’s crossbars to prevent the strap from slipping off.
Repeat the process for other straps you plan to use and then ratchet the straps until the kayak is snug – but do not overtighten! Too much tension can deform the kayak.

How to use ratchet straps on the roof racks?

When tying items to the roof of a vehicle, ratchet straps are a fantastic option for ensuring your cargo doesn’t come loose and go flying while on the road. If your vehicle already has a roof rack, the straps can easily be looped around the side and cross rails.
Stack the items evenly and centered across the roof and bring the straps over the top of the items. Be careful not to overtighten the cargo straps to avoid damaging either the items or your vehicle. Additionally, do not overload your vehicle either! Each vehicle has a maximum load weight you can find in your owner’s manual. While on the road, it’s good to double-check the load after about ten minutes of driving.
An extra step you should take to ensure nothing will fall out is to cover the entire load with a tarp or netting!

How to undo ratchet straps?

Undoing a ratchet strap is relatively simple! You will repeat the first few steps you took to open the ratchet and thread the strap through, just reversed. Take the top piece and pull the release pin until it the ratchet lays completely flat. Once it’s flat, you’ll be able to easily pull the strap back through the ratchet.

Should you use ratchet straps for slacklining?

A slackline is an exercise and recreation activity that uses the same mechanism as a ratchet strap. They’re typically tied between two anchor points – traditionally trees. Slacklines differ from a tightrope because of the material they’re made of. Slacklines are made from the same material as ratchet straps. However, a slackline-specific strap is more heavy-duty than a standard strap.
Additionally, slacklines can come with special loops on either end for securement purposes. A standard strap isn’t rated to support a body’s full weight.
That said if you do buy a heavier-duty ratchet strap, NEVER use the straps you plan to use for cargo hauling for slacklining. You’re only wearing down the straps and making them unsafe for proper use afterward. If you want to try slacklining, purchase new straps specifically for the activity.