If you’ve ever moved furniture on the back of a trailer, you’ll understand how difficult the process can be if you don’t have the right tools. It becomes especially difficult if you don’t have the correct straps to secure your load and prevent it from falling off or rolling around during the trip.
The most essential item in your moving arsenal has to be a variety of different sized, good quality ratchet straps. These straps often don’t get the praise they deserve for keeping large items safe and secure during a trip which could span anything from a few blocks to across the country. Let’s help you learn more about this accessory.
Essential Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Ratchet Straps in Perfect Working Order
When you’re performing your routine maintenance on your moving and loading gear, do you include your ratchet strap arsenal? Or do you, like so many other people, just toss them in a cupboard or drawer till the next use?
Ratchet straps, like any other item that forms part of your moving and loading gear, should be cleaned, maintained and stored correctly. This is to ensure they continue to safeguard your loads and remain strong and effective. Ensuring that your ratchet straps are properly maintained will also ensure that you don’t accidently lose a load during travel.
Does setting aside some time in your busy schedule to inspect your ratchet straps sounds a bit compulsive? Trust us, it’s necessary. Especially when you consider the many things you might be using the straps for. Moving furniture, moving your motorcycle or ATVs or other large objects is a good reason to keep your ratchet straps in good working order.
The first step to ratchet strap maintenance is a thorough inspection. Aside from looking out for holes and tears, some less obvious indications of extended wear include the following:
- Broken stitching.
- Burnt areas caused by alkali, acid, oil or other chemicals you use.
- Unusual wear patterns around the webbing where it comes into contact with the fittings.
- Cracks or corrosion in the fitting components.
- Damage caused by excessive exposure to UV rays.
- Stiff webbing hardened by hours in the sun.
- Tears from excessive pressure.
If your straps are displaying any of the above signs, it’s crucial to take the straps out of commission immediately. A good idea would be to draw up a register to record the dates inspections are carried out. Inspections should be carried out often if the straps are used regularly.
Keeping your tie-down straps clean is the easiest way to increase their working lifespan. It’s especially necessary to clean your ratchet straps if you use them for certain applications. For instance, if your straps come into contact with oil from your motorcycle or ATV, you’ll need to wash them to avoid damage to the webbing fabric.
Simply mix a mild soap with warm water. Use a quality scrub brush to remove any dirt or debris. Don’t use any bleach-based cleaning solutions as this will weaken the strap fabric.
Generally, straps are made from polyester to limit water absorption. It’s still a good idea to hang your ratchet straps to allow for air drying. This will ensure no mould or mildew forms on the webbing once it’s placed in storage.
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One of the biggest mistakes people make with their ratchet straps is to just toss them in a corner until they’re needed again. Improper storage of your straps can lead to them becoming damaged, torn or tangled. Taking the time to wind the straps up and store them correctly will avoid rips and abrasions.
Here are a few tips for the best ways to store your ratchet straps:
- Store in plastic bags, carefully placed in a drawer or cupboard.
- Hang them against your garage wall on hooks.
- Always ensure the straps are stored in a dry area away from direct sunlight.
- Ensure the straps are placed in a way to not tangle or get torn on other hooks.
- Plastic storage boxes are a good idea to keep ratchet straps cool, dry and neat.
- Keep your straps rolled up to save space and avoid them getting tangled.
Know When to Replace Your Ratchet Straps
No matter how much time and effort you spend on maintaining your ratchet straps, the reality is at some point they’ll need replacing. Any visible damage such as holes, frayed fabric or damaged or worn hooks is a clear indication that your straps need to be replaced. Don’t use damaged straps any longer than you have to as this will cause a risk of them failing while in use.
Putting a few minutes aside after each trip to inspect your ratchet straps will go a long way to ensuring their lifespan. So, set up a dry and tangle-free storage system to keep your straps from tearing and getting tangled. This is how you ensure your load stays secure from point A to point B!