How To Strap a Car to A Trailer

Strapping a car to a trailer can seem like a daunting task, but did you ever consider that it could be as straightforward as tying your shoelaces, with a pinch of focus and a dash of precaution?

Properly securing a car to a trailer is crucial to prevent any potential slipping, shifting, or even detachment during transportation. Failing to secure the vehicle adequately can lead to severe consequences, including damage to the car and the risk of accidents.

Essential Tools

Ratchet Straps

Ratchet Straps

One of the most effective tools for securing cars during transportation is the ratchet strap. Designed to apply tension and securely fasten items in place, ratchet straps are ideal for ensuring cargo remains in position throughout the journey. When choosing ratchet straps, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Strength and Load Capacity: Ensure that the ratchet straps have the appropriate strength, with a working load limit exceeding the total weight of the car.
  • Length and Width: Select ratchet straps with adequate length to wrap around the car and reach the anchor points on the trailer. Wider straps generally offer greater stability.
  • Webbing Material: Opt for ratchet straps made from durable polyester fiber, as nylon straps tend to have more stretch, which could result in the car becoming loose during transportation.

Chain binder

Chain binder

For heavier vehicles and equipment, chain binders can be more effective due to their steel construction, which provides increased durability and reduced risk of breakage. When used in conjunction with ratchet straps, chain binders can secure a car to a trailer. However, it’s important to note that this may not be the optimal or recommended method.

Strap the car

Checking

Before starting, ensure that the trailer, car, and ratchet straps are in good condition. Inspect the ratchet straps for any signs of damage, such as cuts, mold, or burn marks. If any such signs are present, promptly replace the straps.

Positioning the Car

Next, we need to properly position the car on the trailer. It’s akin to placing a pizza in the center of a baking tray. This step is crucial to maintaining balance and stability during transit. Here are the steps to do it:

  • Prepare the trailer: Before you begin, ensure that the trailer is level and situated on firm, flat ground. This will ensure that the trailer does not tip or move unexpectedly while you’re loading the car.
  • Align the car: Align the car with the trailer ramps. If you’re doing this alone, it can help to use a spotter or guide to ensure the wheels stay on track. Be extra cautious when driving the car onto the trailer to avoid any damage.
  • Center the car: Once the car is on the trailer, the aim is to balance its weight as evenly as possible. The car should be centered from side to side. You also want to achieve a good balance from front to back. Ideally, a little more weight should be towards the front of the trailer (the side attached to the towing vehicle), but not so much that it significantly affects the towing vehicle’s handling.
  • Secure the car: Put the car in park, apply the parking brake, and switch off the engine. Also, it can be helpful to use wheel chocks on the wheels that are not strapped down first to prevent the car from moving as you secure it to the trailer.

Installing the Straps

Front Straps

For the front of the car, the ratchet strap needs to be wrapped around the front control arm near the bottom of the wheel. And attach the hook to the two front ends of the strap.

how-to-strap-a-car-to-a-trailer-step-1

Connect the other end of the strap to the corresponding anchor points on the trailer. Take up any excess slack on the strap and use the ratchet to adjust the tension until the strap becomes firm.

To secure the excess strap length, slide it through the center of the ratchet, pass it through the metal loop at the end of the strap, and tie a knot at the bottom of the remaining slack.

how-to-strap-a-car-to-a-trailer-step-3

Tips: You need to use both hands to tighten the ratchet when you need to pull on it, which means the straps are tight enough.

Rear Straps

For the rear, secure the ratchet straps to the rear axle on the right side of the differential. Ensure that the strap end is above and close to the rear sway bar. Attach the hook to the two ends of the strap wrapped around the axle. Repeat the process on the other side of the axle.

how-to-strap-a-car-to-a-trailer-step-4

After securing the straps, tighten them by connecting the rear end of the straps to the opposite anchor points on the trailer. This will create an X-shaped configuration, enhancing the stability of the securing system.

Verifying the Setup

After all that hard work, we need to double-check everything. This final inspection ensures your car is ready for safe transit.

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