There are many ways of tying down a load that you intend to transport with your vehicle. Whether they are secure for the load (and your car) or safe for you is another matter. There are people who tend to get “creative” and improvise some ill conceived method in order to save a few bucks. To those people, I must advise that this is a dangerous mindset. Not only might you injure yourself if the object comes loose, but you are also likely to cause collateral damage, endangering other motorist and nearby pedestrians. One useful device to buy is a ratchet strap. In this article, I’ll go through the steps to properly use it – tightening and loosening.
Firstly, let me lay out what comes with a ratchet strap. Generally, it consists of a metal buckle (which has a drum, center latch and a crank handle – I’ll explain these further on) and straps (or webbing) which may or may not have hooks on one the end of each strap. When you purchase a ratchet strap, it might arrive un-assembled. If this is the case, you will need to take the unattached strap and thread it through the buckle, around the drum. Please note that assembly must be carried out correctly, otherwise you may risk the strap coming undone during transportation, damaging the object you’re tying down or even worse, hurting yourself or someone else.
Now, assuming that assembly has been completed correctly, you can continue to tie down your object. The initial step to take is to try to place the ratchet buckle as close to the center of target object as possible. With the buckle in position, the webbing needs to be inserted through the slot in the drum then pulled through. As you pull the webbing, do not completely tighten it flush against the object. Leave a gap of about 3 inches (which is approximately the diameter of a tennis ball) between the ratchet buckle and the object. At this point, rotate the crank handle until the object is secured. Just note that having too much (or not even enough) of the strap around the drum can lead to the ratchet strap being ineffective.
After transportation, you want to remove your load, so here comes the loosening process. First, pull down the center latch in the direction where the crank handle resides and don’t release it. Whilst holding it down, turn the handle away from the buckle 180 degrees. You can stop turning when the handle locks in place, at which point you can let go of the latch. The buckle can now be pulled away from the object.
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