Ratchet straps are used to secure and tie downloads during transport. Straps are lightweight and are mostly made of polyester. Their fabric allows them to be resistant to abrasion and be minimally stretchable. They are also created to withstand any damage from basic chemicals as well as ultraviolet rays.
The best time for cleaning and inspecting tie-down straps is after winter. Determining if tie-down straps are subject to wear and tear helps them last longer. It is therefore critical for straps to be cleaned and stored properly when they are not being used. The following are reasons why straps need to be kept safe and protected.
- A well-maintained strap will have an extended working life
- A properly cared for strap ensures a safe trip as well as avoid a dangerous haul
Their minimal absorption of water prevents shrinkage, mould, mildew, and rotting, even after being exposed to the elements over time. These qualities also make them a long-lasting and economical choice, especially for outdoor uses.
Related article: How to Care for Ratchet Straps
How to Properly Inspect a Tie-down Strap
A tie-down strap needs to be inspected for the following signs of wear and tear:
- Knots, tears, holes
- Broken stitches in the patterns
- Areas where weld splatter, charring or melting are present
- Damage resulting from ultraviolet rays where strap colour appears bleached or stiffness is present on the webbing
- Tiny particles are present and are deeply embedded in the webbing
- Areas where burning has occurred due to chemicals caused by alkali or acid
- Corrosion, pits, cracks seen on ratchets, hooks, cam buckles or fittings
- Patterns of wear that are unusual for the webbing
Once the above signs have been checked, it is important that a record with appropriate dates be created and kept on file. Taking pictures might also help you refer to these in the next inspection.
- Inspecting tow down straps is recommended to be done regularly. It is highly advisable to perform an initial inspection prior to using the strap.
- Periodic inspections need to be done according to how often straps are used, as well as the intensity of conditions the straps are subjected to.
How to Properly Clean Tie-down Straps
Cleaning straps regularly helps extend their working condition. Straps are cleaned by doing the following process.
- A mild-cleansing detergent is mixed with warm water.
- The straps are scrubbed to loosen any debris or dirt
- Cleansers that are bleach-based or which contain acid additives are not recommended
- Straps can be hung dry even if their polyester fabric is specially made to restrict water absorption
How to Properly Store Tie-down Straps
Straps can easily be hung or placed in plastic bags for storage. The best way to store straps is to put them in dry areas that are free from sunlight.
- When not in use, straps’ webbing must be dry and clean before they are placed in storage for a lengthy time period.
- Washing straps is easy. Simply use a hose and wash them down using water. The straps need to be dry before they are stored.
- Feel free to use a detergent later on if in case you find the straps are not clean even if they are hosed down by the water.
- It is important that straps be cleaned first before they are stored
- However, prior to being stored, they must first be wound up. Use this time as an opportunity to inspect it for any rips, abrasions or tears on the webbing.
- Ratcheting straps need to be stored in a dry place far from sunlight.
- Similarly, straps must be kept away from moisture as they will collect corrosion if exposed resulting to them being difficult to use.
Fortunately, there are items that can help you store ratchet straps properly.
- Bungee balls allow you to tie and wrap up tie-down straps. Fortunately, these can be purchased in bulk and come in a package of 100. They can also be used for keeping lids of boxes closed, canopy securement, anchoring ornaments in the yard, and bundling together tent poles.
- Bungee cords come in a variety of sizes. These can fit large sized winch or ratchet straps.
- Cinch straps are available in velcro and can be used for making loose webbings secure. If an E-track is installed in your trailer, cinch straps can be looped through the fitting along with the O-ring in order to keep the straps away from the floor.
Besides properly inspecting, cleaning, and storing tie-down straps, they also need to be used properly.
How to Properly Use Tie-down Straps
- Straps must be properly used according to their rated capacities. Angles between the attachment and load have an impact on the number of pounds a strap can hold. Specific standards exist on the exact number of straps to be used for particular loads as well as how these need to be attached to the truck.
- Draping straps over the load must also be properly done. Straps must not be strung over sharp edges or corners. Wood cushions, rubber, the fabric can be used to further protect the load as well as the straps.
- Straps must also be removed with care. They must not be pulled from under the loads as doing so will cause the straps to fray. Straps must be rolled up while they are being removed. Doing so keeps the strap from absorbing water or dirt.
- Damaged straps must not be used in any way, manner or form. Stay on the safe side and replace the strap the instance you see it is damaged. Do not fix a broken strap by tying it together. It is almost impossible to know the strength lost from a damaged strap.
- Tie-down straps must not be used for suspending, towing, lowering or lifting cargo.
Tie-down mechanisms need to be properly maintained. The standards of inspecting and storing them properly are based on the document from the Web, Sling and Tie Down Association entitled “Recommended Standard Specification for Synthetic Web Tie-Downs”. The recommendations listed in the above publication has since been adopted by the government since 2004.
There are specific cargoes which work best with tie-down straps. Large metal coils, crushed or flattened vehicles, boulders, intermodal containers, logs, paper rolls, and concrete pipes are a few of these items.
All in all, whichever purpose it is used for, it is essential that tie-down straps be observed for twists, elongations, and stretched links. Being aware of the broken ratcheting mechanism is critical as these must also be inspected. It is therefore important that such equipment must be stored in a dry place. Though straps made of synthetic fabric do not rust, these can collect mildew and unwanted growths. Storing these in leak-resistant boxes keeps them dry. They also help avoid the dangerous ultraviolet rays of the sun.
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