How to Tie Down a Car on a Trailer

Tying a car to a trailer can be a daunting task, especially if you have not done this before. But fortunately, it is easy to operate. Tying down a car can usually be divided into secured tires, secured axles, and secured compression suspension. There is some disagreement as to which of these three is better, but generally speaking, most professionals prefer the first two. This article will illustrate the differences between the above-securing methods in the process of describing how to tie a car to a trailer.

1. Loading the vehicle

The first step is to drive the car onto the car trailer. For safety, you need to park the trailer and the car on a flat surface, not on a slope. After finding a good parking location, remember to activate the emergency brake of the car towing the trailer. This can prevent the trailer from driving while loading the car.

You can then put the trailer ramps down and make sure they are securely linked to the trailer. The length of the ramps needs to be calculated, and you can read about it in this article: How to Choose Car Hauling Ramps?

Finally, all you need to do is to park the car straight behind the ramp, then slowly accelerate up the ramp and onto the trailer. Please note that you should not back the car onto the trailer, as this may cause problems such as the car whipping or swaying.

Loading the vehicle

2. Securing the car

Ⅰ) Securing the tire

To secure a car using this method, you will need to pick up the lasso strap, pull the open end of the strap through the looped end, then place the strap around the tire and pull it tight.

Thread the lasso through the ratchet strap, please note that you will need to crank the ratchet’s handle 3-4 times to connect the straps.

Then, hook the ratchet strap over the nearby D-ring, which is an embedded ring that secures the corner of the trailer, and you can confirm the number of D-rings with the merchant before you purchase the car trailer. The more rings the trailer has, the easier and more flexible it will be to secure your car.

*Click to enlarge the image
*Click to enlarge the image
*Click to enlarge the image

Ⅱ) Securing the axle

This way is much easier to operate. If the strap has a padded section, then this section needs to touch the axle and is held in place by closing the metal clip on the strap.

The ratchet strap is then clamped to the D-ring of the trailer. And the axle strap is screwed into the ratchet leaving only a small amount of slack. During this process, you will need to raise and lower the ratchet’s handle 3-4 times to lock the strap in place.

After making sure the strap is locked in place, move the ratchet handle up and down until the strap is in a tight position. But be careful not to over-tighten as this can cause damage to the axle.

*Click to enlarge the image
*Click to enlarge the image
*Click to enlarge the image

Which of these two methods is used depends on the car. Smaller smart cars or slim cars are suitable for securing tires. Larger cars, such as trucks or vintage cars, require the axle securing method. If the axle fixing method is used for smaller cars, it may cause unnecessary damage to the car.

Securing axle V.S. securing body

Securing axles:
  • Easier to attach, less equipment required
  • As strong as attaching to the frame
  • May damage the axle when tying the straps too tightly
Securing the body:
  • The suspension float or move more difficult
  • Compressed suspension constantly pulls on the straps, causing additional stress
  • Tightening the straps too much can cause damage to the suspension

Please note that no matter which way you choose to secure your vehicle, please do not use the half-and-half approach! For example, use the axle securing method for the front part and the tire securing method for the rear part. This will cause the straps to loosen and become dangerous during transportation.

Crossed vs. straight straps.

These are two types of strapping, some advocate straightening as much as possible and others advocate crossing the straps in an X pattern. Both approaches are correct, but the straight strap approach is better. This is because straight straps allow for the maximum rating of the straps. And it does not fray from each other due to crossovers.

3. Check the car safety

Once secured, you will need to check the straps once again. Make sure the straps are tight and are only pressing on what they are supposed to hold. If you are using the axle securement method, take care to check that the straps are not pressing on the brake lines or oil lines.

4. Move off the ramp

We cannot allow the ramp to touch the ground while driving, so we need to store the ramp in its original location or in the trunk of the towing vehicle before driving.

5. Test drive

Before setting off, please take a test drive in an open area. In addition to ensuring safety, you can practice turning, braking and reversing to avoid accidents while driving on the road.

6. Check the belt after driving a certain distance

The belt may slowly loosen with time. For safety period, after driving 10 to 25 miles, you need to stop and check the belt, if you find it has loosened, we need to re-secure it with ratchet.

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