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,

Monday, November 11, 2019

The annoying thing about Ford's SuperDuty F-250 Hitch: Safety Chain Hook Problem/Solution

Hi there...This is a set of solutions for the problem of the SuperDuty F250 hitch receiver being too thick for the safety chains to fit.  (same thing for the Chevy 2500HD)  The TL:DR here is... buy either the red Durabilt coupler or the black Peerless hammerlock.  When you install, put the pin in the freezer, get a big hammer, a block of wood, and a friend to help. Go all the way down if you want to see the installation video and skip the sales pitch.

The pictures below are of a 2019 Ford F250 SuperDuty hitch receiver (the one with the red couplers)  The plate steel is thicker than the opening of any normal size safety chain hook.  The solution to the hitch problem is to put another connector in the hole, and then hook your safety chain in to that.  

Some folks put in a threaded oblong quicklink, but according to the Peerless Chain website, the working load limit of their 1/2 inch link is only 2,650 lbs.  (They're made of low-carbon steel, without much of a heat treat.)

Ford must have known about this problem for over two years, since we've been selling hundreds and hundreds of these 1/2 inch grade 80 12,000 lb couplers.  The red one is the Durabilt brand connector, and the black one is the Peerless brand connector.  Both are 12,000 lbs.  Both work on Ford F250 hitch receiver, as well as GMC and Chevy  (They must be using the same sub-contractor to build their hitch receivers.)  If you have a Ford F-150,  you shouldn't need to purchase this solution.

Above is the Peerless hammerlock solution for the same safety hook fit problem on the hitch receiver of a Chevy Silverado 2500HD.

Another solution, if you trust people not to steal it, is to use an alloy screw pin shackle.
5/8 Peer lift galvanized screw pin shackle
This has a 5 ton safe working load limit, so it's better than the quick link above.  However, thieves can easily appropriate it from your truck with a pair of pliers... or even a strong pair of thumb and fingers!

OK, so let's say you want to install the Peerless Hammerlock and Durabilt Connecting Link hitch solution, because you don't want anyone to steel the darn connecting link?  One thing you need to know is how these hammerlock connectors work.  They're not exactly easy to put them onto your hitch receiver, but they're almost impossible to steal.

Funny story... I used to only sell hammerlocks and connectors of these kind to a railroad customer who used a lot of high tensile chain.  Then I noticed we kept selling two hammerlocks at a time.  These were web orders that came on the weekends mostly.  Curiosity got the better of me, and I finally called up one of the customers and asked him why he wanted 12,000 lb WLL hammerlocks.  He told me about the problem he was having with the hitch receiver being too thick for the hooks on his safety chains.  It was then that I figured we might as well put together a package deal, and put it in the USPS priority mail box which cost a hell of a lot less than UPS to deliver.  (and faster, too.)


Shrinking that pin down just the wee tiniest bit makes it easier to install this couplers.  Might even save you from hitting your finger with the hammer. 


Monday, June 03, 2019

Auto Transport Industry and Economic Prospects 2019 through 2020

As business owners, we spend most of our time trying to pull the levers available to us: controlling expenses, planning for future needs, improving quality of service. While we do this work, we're glancing at the horizon to keep an eye on the industry as well as economic conditions in general.

I've got to say in 15 years of being in business, I've never seen an industry and an economy so hard to predict. I'll outline a few ideas here

First, the good news: Unemployment is at record lows.

The official rate is 3.8%. Even the broader U6 measure which includes discouraged workers and people working part-time for economic reasons is down to 7.3%

As my grandfather used to say: “Everybody that wants to work is already working.”

More good news: Productivity is rising.

More people are working, and those people are earning their employers more money. Gross Domestic Productivity, the total number of dollars paid for all goods and services in the economy has been going up relative to the number of employees working. In the broadest sense, increasing productivity means the workers of an economy are working harder, faster, smarter, and creating more innovation. That's good for business owners, workers, and customers. (I like to think of business as a stool with three legs-- if the business is run in such a way that the needs of the owners, the workers, and the customers are taken care of, then that business is probably going to be stable. If one of the legs is short-changed, then the whole thing is going to be wobbly.)

Increasing productivity coupled with low unemployment is the best recipe I know to decrease income inequality. Put another way: an economy that produces jobs is going to help raise people's standard of living faster than any government program.

The (sort of) bad news: We are now in a trade-war on multiple fronts, so prices will go up as businesses pass on the cost of the 25% tariffs they're paying. (to get some deals on pre trade-war straps, click here.)

People can argue back and forth about how we got into this situation, and whether it is for a good cause or not. The fact of the matter is: we're in it now. Material costs are rising, and they're rising not only for straight up imported products, but they're rising for stuff made in the USA, because lots of products made in the USA have some imported products as components.

The really bad news: This could slow down sales of big-ticket items like cars and trucks, or even trigger the start of a full-on recession.

With the current trade war with China and the ones threatened with Mexico and Europe, the entire logistics ecosystem is being upended. Whether this conflict is resolved in a way that is favorable remains to be seen. In the meantime, the tariffs act as a sudden tax jolt, as costs paid by importers are passed on to distributors and ultimately consumers. With the complex logistics of auto manufacturing, this could result in price increases for vehicles that will start slowing down sales. That's bad news for car haulers and people like me that want to sell stuff to car haulers.

More bad news: Federal deficits are skyrocketing, with US spending expected to exceed income by over 1 Trillion dollars just for 2019 alone! This is on top of the mountain of debt the US created in the aftermath of the mortgage meltdown and Great Recession of 2008.

Most of this current deficit (not to be confused with the aggregate US debt, which has risen over multiple decades) came about as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Normally, a tax cut would be a go-to option for the government to try and stimulate an economy that is already mired in a deep recession. It has never been done when an economy is operating at full capacity with full employment. So we are in uncharted waters here.

Some economists are beginning to question whether such mountains of debt even matter. Other, more traditional economists say that it does indeed matter, because if there is ever more debt than there is appetite to purchase it, then the yields offered on all that debt must rise until buyers are found. Not a big deal if yield on the 10 year US Bond is 2.2%, but what if it goes back up to 15.5% where it was back in 1980. The amount of debt we're getting ourselves into could be similar to the trap some families get into when they use too much credit on one of those 6 month 0% interest rate cards that snaps back to 24% compound interest in the 7th month. By the time the interest rates change, it's too late to take the stuff back to the store. Now imagine that times trillions of dollars.

Worse news: Since we've already used the stimulus of tax cuts during the boom times and piled onto our already huge mountain of debt, it will be politically and economically difficult to do future tax cuts in the next recession. Also, if Congress decides to play a game of chicken with the debt ceiling limit, credit ratings agencies like Moody's could downgrade US debt issues, resulting in higher yields being demanded at auction. Also: China, with whom we're currently in the middle of a trade war, has historically been the biggest foreign buyer of US debt. It is doubtful they would weaponize this debt by selling off their $1.12 Trillion in debt, because this would drive the US dollar down in value, which they definitely don't want to do right now. But sometimes people don't act in their short-term interest if they have a longer term goal or a point to prove.

My conclusion is that as business-owners, we have no choice but to make hay while the sun shines. We don't get to decide what the government does or doesn't do. We can only pull the levers we have in front of us. Right now, economic conditions in this country are doing exceptionally well.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Carhauler bridge strike Connecticut 2019

Damn!  This was a bad one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

All new Hi Viz Diamond Weave Strap

New extra durable Diamond Weave webbing has 2 different patents for abrasion resistance and also edge protection.  2 foot low profile tread-grab sleeve replaces the three rubber tread grabs normally found on a traditional 3 point auto tie-down.  The advantage here is ease of use on low-profile cars where wheel-well space is in short supply.

These are manufactured in our shop in Dallas, TX out of webbing ALSO manufactured in the USA.  Each strap tagged with safe WLL of 3333 lbs.  Available in 10, 12, 14 and 16 foot lengths.  We can also make custom lengths for you for a slight additional cost.

For more information, visit our website:

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Good deal on straps for Cottrell trailers

Ratchet wheels traps or replacement straps for next-generation type trailers. This is from the sales department of Autohauler Supply.  If you click on the picture, you can see more details on the wheel straps.  If you don't see what you need, you can call us 8AM-8PM at 866-855-4285, Monday through Friday.  Those who possess the secret bat phone number can call Steve or Gunnar on the weekend.  But don't call Dale or RJ.

$17.95 While supplies last at Autohauler Supply

Diamond Weave strap in Black, with Low-Profile tread grab sleeve and reinforced hook eye.  I call this one The Bumble Bee strap

This is a regular tread grab strap for small-hole Miller and Sun Valley trailers

Low Profile Sleeve strap to fit next generation trailers and chain conversions.

Shipping included on this Red Wheel Strap from PCC if you buy a box of 8  (Offer good while supplies last, so if you're reading this in 2021, don't get mad.)

Jack Cooper buys Selland

Well, at least this time they're getting some decent equipment.  Way better then when they bought Allied's fleet from the 1990s!
Check out the news story here:

Diamond Weave straps for auto transport and towing, now in stock in Dallas, TX

Now available in high visibility Green or hide-the-grease Black. Try the strap that has two patents for abrasion resistance.  Made in USA.  Click here for more info:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How to put protective sleeves on your lasso straps.

If you don't want this to happen to your straps, then you should think about buying protective sleeves.  If you buy Cordura protective sleeves for your car hauler's wheel straps, then you will save time if you follow the instructions laid forth for us by Doug Valley at Cruiser Parts in New Hampshire.  Read all about it here:

Cordura Protective Sleeves 10-Pack (option of 12pk)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bradley Childs moves to Moore Transport

Just noticed on my LinkedIN feed that Bradley Childs, formerly VP of Sales and Operations at Proficient Auto Transport is now VP of Sales and Marketing and Moore Transport.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What to do when drivers run over wheel straps?

Diamond Weave
Are your drivers running over their straps?  You can train them all you want, but once they roll out of the yard, they're probably going to do whatever they want. Solutions:  Make a checklist of all the equipment and what kind of shape it is in when you put the driver in the truck.  Anything that doesn't return in tht shape is his or her responsibility and will come out of the settlement check.

You wouldn't borrow someone's car and return it without the radio?  Or with a hole in the tire?

I know straps are probably pretty far down the list of items to worry about, but there is an improvement you can order on your straps-- reinforced eyes.  If the driver drives over the wheel straps, this will at least protect the strap where it is sewn around the hook, which is typically where the most wear and tear happens. This is only available on our Diamond Weave brand of straps, which I should add  have two different patents for abrasion resistance and also edge protection.

Click here for more replacement 3 point wheel strap tie-downs.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Do your drivers run over wheel straps?

This is what happens to wheel straps when they get driven over. One solution is to move the strap out of the way. If you don't want to do that, then get your straps with reinforced eyes. It doesn't add much to the cost, but it will give you way longer strap life if you are tough on your straps. Google: SS-S-2x12RE-WH-RCS-DW to see pics of our sleeve reinforced eye.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tow dolly straps for really really really big Jeep tires

Yes, you can get custom tow dolly straps for your Jeep or other off-road 4x4 if the U-Haul tow dolly straps don't fit your oversize tires!  Check these out here.