How-To Guide

How to Use Ratchet Straps Like a Pro


Ratchet straps are an important player in securing cargo for transport, and once you understand how to use them you’ll be wondering why you ever used anything else. They hold their tension with a built-in tensioner device and have rated weight capacities that make them a reliable and safe tie down choice.

Please note: Before using any ratchet strap, inspect the webbing and ratchet handle assembly to make sure they are free of damage. Signs that a ratchet strap shouldn’t be used includes frayed webbing, mildew, and any holes or tears. If the ratchet assembly needs lubricating, use a little spray of dry silicone spray or WD-40, taking care not to get it on the webbing.
Step 1

Open the ratchet handle and ratchet the axle until its open slot is pointing up. This is where the end of the webbing will be fed through.

Step 2

Close the ratchet so that the axle assembly is easily accessible.

Step 3

Lead the free end of the webbing from underneath the ratchet, through the axle slot, and out the same way it entered.

Step 4

Next, place the hook attached the ratchet into position, and do the same with the hook on the other end of the webbing.

Step 5

Pull the free end of the webbing to remove any slack between the two hooks.

Step 6

Tighten any remaining slack by raising and lowering the ratchet handle assembly in a pumping motion. You should see the webbing wrapping around the axle.

Step 7

When the webbing is completely taut, close the ratchet handle completely to lock the strap in place, taking care not to overtighten it as that can lead to irreparable damage to ratchet straps.

Step 8

To undo the ratchet strap, pull and hold the release handle to open the ratchet handle completely. The strap will pop loose and you can pull it back out through the axle slot.

Step 9

For storage, consider securing ratchet straps and webbing together and securing them with a rubber band. You can also place them in their own bag, and store them in a dry location out of the sun. Putting them away wet can cause mildew, and ultraviolet light can make nylon and polyester fibers brittle, causing them to discolor, break down and potentially lose strength.