Friday, December 13, 2019

3 Point Ratchet Wheel Straps: What are the best choices for your car hauler?

In the olden days, you bought an 8 ft ratchet wheel strap with double J wire hooks from B/A products, and you were glad to have it, because the only other company making them was Vulcan or CF Bender, or maybe East Coast Truck and Trailer Sales, who used to be a big B/A dealer.

Now, however, the wheels on cars have gotten bigger, and (almost) the whole industry has gone to strap.  I've personally seen the straps go from 8 foot... to 9 foot... to 10 foot.  So, just to get length out of the way in this discussion:  If you're using a hand ratchet to tension the strap, a 10 foot should be fine.  If you get a 12 foot long strap, it'll work, but on most cars, you're going to be wrapping a lot of the excess around the ratchet, and that's going to take time.  And time is money, as they say.

So, for hand ratchet wheel straps, here are the variables:


Get a 10' Strap.  Period.  Unless you've got a Cottrell Next Gen trailer, in which case, you probably want 14 footers and some 12 footers.

Low Profile 2 Foot Tread Grab Sleeve
Rubber Tread Grabs
Tread Grabs.

Recommend either 3 rubber tread grabs (with stopper flaps to keep them from sliding around.)  OR, you can go with the new 2' low profile sleeve.  Personally, I think those are better in cold weather, because the tread grabs will sometimes freeze to tires, and then split at the seam when you pull them off.  Not much you can do about that.
Diamond Weave is beautiful, and it lasts longer, AND it's easier to use in wet, freezing weather.

WebbingClick this link to see a video showing the huge differences.

I heartily recommend Diamond Weave webbing, as this has a couple patents for abrasion resistance and edge guard.  PLUS TWO MORE IMPORTANT THINGS:  it doesn't require extra re-tensioning like a normally woven strap, which is nice.  And more importantly, for you guys that run in the northern states, the Diamond Weave webbing won't sponge up the water like a regular strap. My Big Orange straps, which are super-strong, because they're thicker...become that more effective sponges when the strap starts to get broken in and fuzzes up a little.

Stitch Pattern.

A Ha!  NOBODY thinks about this when buying a strap.  I've seen stuff out there with a 2 inch stitch pattern and little tiny thread.  The sew pattern is the thing that holds the hooks to the strap, and thus the strap to the trailer. The sew pattern is ultimately what keeps that Toyota Tundra from dropping off the back of your trailer onto the family of four following too close behind you on their way home from the movies. 


A Double J wire hook is a fine way to go in most cases, UNLESS you want extra strength.  If you're 4 strapping, you should be fine with the slightly lower WLL of a strap with wire hooks.  However, if you're the kind of guy that can't sleep at night unless you have a solution that is over-engineered, then you might want to use the Swivel J hooks.

If you have SMALL HOLES, you will only be able to use the SMALL HOOKS or the DOGLEG HOOKS for those trailers with small holes in the decks, like the pre-2006 Sun Valleys and Miller auto transport trailers.  (If you can't get a quarter to go through the hole, you've got a small hole deck.)

Also, what is company's testing policy?  We test each batch we get.  But believe it or not, there are no laws that dictate how frequently components must be tested!  We sometimes test our competitors' stitch pattern and hooks and stuff.  Most of our competitors do a good job, but we've seen some that make us shake our heads.  Take a look at this one from a few years ago.  Hooks and stitch pattern failed at 6,700 lbs.  For straps tagged  with 3,333 lbs.  That means their safety factor was only 2:1.  We use the accepted industry standard of 3:1, but a lot of our assemblies make it all the way to a 4:1 ratio.  Again... you get what you pay for.  And what you're paying for when you buy safety equipment is the safety of other human beings.


Buy from a company that uses professional grade ratchets.  (A lot of buyers will ask the chinese manufacturer for the "cheapest" ratchet, and by God, they'll deliver the cheapest ratchet.  Doesn't mean everything from China is going to fall apart... depends on what the buyer asks for.)

If you're side-strapping with Lasso Straps, unless you have a rub-rail to wrap around, you'll definitely want to get Bolt-On Swivel J hooks.  If you buy the ratchet handles that have the webbing tail on them, it'll put you up too high on small wheeled vehicles that are close to your ratchet point.  Then you've got no way to suck it down and tension the strap.

Country of Manufacture

Consider buying something made in USA.

OK, I'm not bashing China.  I buy some stuff from vendors in China too.  But let me reiterate this point... If you ask a manufacturer for the cheapest product, that is what you are going to get.  At our company (Autohauler Supply), we ask to see samples, and if we don't like the samples, we'll ask to see more samples until we LIKE what we see.  One time, I upgraded ratchets on my Big Orange line, and the manufacturer's rep was like, "Oh, those are 45 cents more for that ratchet."  And I was like, "Yeah, but it's a way better ratchet that will work good right out of the box and hopefully last a lot longer."  Sometimes, you get what you pay for.  But you NEVER get what you DON'T pay for.  You know what I'm saying?

So anyway... Just a few things to think about.  The same principles apply above to the replacement straps used on Cottrell, Boydstun, Delavan, Wally Mo, Sun Valley, Sun Country, etc. 

For more info, I hope you'll visit my company's website,