Things to Know About Tie Downs and Tow Straps

If you are new to towing world, then this guide will help you understand the stigma of tow straps and tie downs. Kings Car Towing, being experts of towing services in Perth and surroundings, will discuss how to use tie downs and tow straps.

Keep reading….

Tie Downs and Tow Straps | Comprehensive Guide


Differences between Tie Down Straps and Tow Straps

  • Webbing Blend

Tie-Down Straps: Utilize polyester webbing for stability in securing loads during transit.

Tow Straps: Feature tow strap webbing with more stretch, designed for recovering stuck vehicles.

  • Applications

Tie Down Straps: Ideal for various applications, including securing items in trucks, DIY projects, and professional transportation.

Tow Straps: Specifically used for recovering vehicles stuck in challenging conditions like sand, mud, snow, and ice.

  • Stretch

Tie Down Straps: Polyester webbing with minimal stretching to prevent damage during securement.

Tow Straps: Tow strap webbing designed to stretch, reducing tension on the vehicle during recovery and preventing sudden jerks.

  • Safety Concerns

Tie Down Straps: Should not be used for recovery as they lack the necessary stretching properties and could cause damage.

Tow Straps: Not suitable for tie-down applications due to excessive stretching, risking cargo or vehicle instability.

How to Use Tow Straps?

Towing requires selecting the right tow strap for the specific application, ensuring it is in good condition, and finding secure attachment points on both the towing and towed vehicles. Attach one end of the tow strap to the towing vehicle’s towing point and the other end to a designated towing point on the stuck or disabled vehicle. Avoid attaching tow straps to metal components, and use dedicated tow hooks or loops on the vehicles for secure attachment. Keep the tow strap taut throughout the towing process to ensure stability and avoid sudden jerks or excessive slack. Move the towing vehicle slowly and steadily to prevent sudden stresses on the tow strap. Communicate between drivers to coordinate movements and ensure safety. After towing, release tension gradually and carefully disconnect the tow strap from both vehicles.

How to Use Tie-Down Straps?

To secure your load, choose the right tie-down straps with the right length and weight capacity. Find strong anchor points on your vehicle or trailer for attachment, thread the straps through or around the load, position the straps for a balanced connection, and attach one end to the anchor point. Use a mechanism like a ratchet or cam buckle to tighten the strap securely. Keep the straps tight to prevent shifting or movement of the load. Regularly check tension during transportation for stability. Bundle or secure excess strap length to prevent flapping or interference. Periodically check the straps during transit and tighten as needed. Once at the destination, release tension, remove the straps, inspect for wear or damage, and replace if necessary.

Things to Look for in a Tie-Down Strap

Working Load Limit (WLL)

  • Must ensure the tie-down strap has a clearly marked WLL tag.
  • Check Department of Transportation industry standards for safe usage.
  • Do not purchase or use a strap without a WLL tag.

Webbing Blend

  • Choose a webbing blend that minimizes stretching.
  • Stretchy webbing poses a risk of cargo displacement and securement failure.
  • Prioritize stability over the temptation of cheaper options in cargo securement.

Quality and Reputation

  • Purchase from reputable and trusted tie-down strap manufacturers.
  • Prioritize safety considerations for yourself, others on the road, and the secured cargo.
  • Be cautious of online deals; the cheapest option may come with higher risks of failure.

Things to Look for in a Tow Strap

Non-Stretchable Webbing

  • Avoid tow straps with stretchable webbing to prevent potential vehicle damage or injuries.
  • Prioritize stability in towing operations by choosing non-stretchable options.

Reputable Sources

  • Purchase tow straps from reputable companies.
  • Don’t always opt for the cheapest option; prioritize quality and safety over cost.

Breaking Strength

  • Follow the recommended breaking strengths of webbing for your specific towing application.
  • Use tow hooks when possible to enhance the effectiveness and safety of the towing process.

Risk of using Ratchet Straps for Towing

Ratchet straps for towing can pose risks and potentially cause costly damage to vehicles. They are not designed for towing. So, improper use can lead to significant problems. To prevent this, it is recommended to keep a dedicated tow strap in your vehicle’s emergency kit, especially during winter months.

There are two main types of recovery tow straps:

1-Ply tow straps, suitable for lighter-weight vehicles like four-wheelers, ATVs, golf carts, snowmobiles, and lighter cars.

2-Ply recovery tow straps, more durable and heavy-duty, suitable for various vehicles like golf carts, ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, lawnmowers, tractors, farm equipment, cars, and trucks.

The length of the recovery strap you need depends on your vehicle’s weight. It’s recommended to purchase a strap rated at three times your car’s weight for effective towing.

The main difference between a tow strap and a recovery strap lies in their design and functionality. A recovery strap is constructed with nylon fabrication, allowing it to stretch like a rubber band. This elasticity provides some “give” when recovering a stuck vehicle.

On the other hand, a tow strap is designed for towing disabled vehicles to another location but lacks the stretching capability of a recovery strap. Additionally, tow straps often come equipped with hooks at the ends for easy attachment.

Wrap Up

In this guide we aim to provide you enough information regarding two different towing material. Tie downs and tow strap, both have different features and functions. Keep the precautions and vehicle needs in mind before applying any application. Check:

  • How to Choose the Right Strap for Towing?

Follow these easy and remember-able step:

  • Determine your vehicle’s weight through the owner’s manual, driver’s door sticker, or online resources.
  • Working Limit (WLL) and Break Strength (BS) – Understand the WLL and BS of the tiedowns based on your vehicle’s weight.
  • Ensure that the vehicle weight does not exceed half the strength of the tiedown for optimal safety.

Frequently Asked Questions: Tie-Down Strap and Tow Strap

What is the safety factor of a tow strap?

The safety factor of a tow strap is typically 2:1, meaning it can handle twice the intended load.

Tip: Always check the manufacturer’s specifications for the specific strap you’re using.

How much can tow straps hold?

Tow strap capacity varies. Check the label or product information for the safe working load (SWL) and breaking strength.

Tip: Avoid exceeding these limits to ensure safe towing.

Can you tow with tie down straps?

While tie-down straps are designed for securing cargo, they aren’t ideal for towing. It’s safer to use tow straps specifically engineered for pulling vehicles. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper usage.

What is the best length for a tow strap?

A common range is 15 to 20 feet, providing flexibility without unnecessary slack. Choose a length suitable for the types of vehicles you’ll be towing.

How do you inspect tie down straps?

Inspect tie-down straps by checking for frays, cuts, or any visible damage. Ensure the hardware (buckles, hooks) is in good condition. Replace any compromised straps immediately.

Should you twist a tie down strap?

No, you should not twist a tie-down strap. Twisting can weaken the strap. It can be the reason of compromise strength and reducing ability to secure the load.

Tip: Always use tie-down straps as recommended by the manufacturer for safety and performance.


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