How to Use Ratchet Straps on Roof Rack

You have your ladders, wooden bars, or luggage to take home. These items need to be properly secured on the vehicle before transportation. To avoid losses, get ready to learn how to use ratchet straps on roof rack.

If you don’t have a pick-up truck or a minivan, it may seem challenging to transport most items. Luckily, SUVs and hatchbacks can be equipped with roof racks to perform these activities easily.

With roof racks installed on your hatchback or SUV, you don’t have to pay extra cash for transport services. Your car is capable of getting the job done.

That aside, ratchet straps are the safest tie-down method many car owners use. However, if you tie them inappropriately, you may pose a danger to other road users.

Frankly, many cases happen daily where items fly off the rooftop and injure people. Today, this article will guide you on how to roof rack anything using ratchet straps.

What is a Ratchet Strap?

What is a Ratchet Strap?
Luggage on a car’s roof

A ratchet strap is a tie-down or a fastener. It’s made of a ratchet device, fabric straps, and hooks.

You secure cargo with ratchet straps by creating tension between the two straps attached to the rack by hooks.

Surprisingly, ratchet straps are the easiest and safest method to secure your load on the car roof despite being unpopular. They have a simple locking mechanism that doesn’t require skills to use.

Read on to learn some of the essential components and how to use ratchet strap.

Handle – it actuates the ratchet strap axle that spins to tense the strap. The handle works as a mechanism to lock the strap in place after fastening.

Straps release – it’s a small metal or plastic connected to the handle. You squeeze the release using a thumb to release the tension.

Axle – It’s a spinning mechanism equipped with teeth that tenses the strap. The axle rotates to fasten the straps once you raise and lower the handle.

Straps – there are two straps in a ratchet. One strap is attached to the handle, and the other is fed into the ratchet slot. Straps are made of fabric that is strong enough to secure heavy loads.

Slot – It’s a narrow opening on the axle that the strap is fed through.

Hooks – the hooks are attached to the rack or a frame from both straps.

Read: Roof rack whistling

Can You Use Ratchet Straps for Car?
Roof rack on a 1960s car

How to Use Ratchet Straps on Roof Rack

How to tie things on a car roof using ratchet straps is easy once you have mastered the correct procedure.

First, you need to find the best ratchet straps for roof racks. We recommend AUGO Ratchet Tie Down Straps or FORTEM Ratchet Straps.

[amazon box=” B01F7KSAGI, B071P21X1X” grid=”2″]

Both are 15 feet long and strong enough to secure your loads. Additionally, all have good locking mechanisms for vehicle roof racks.

Read on to learn how to use these cars’ roof tie-down straps;

Step 1: Confirm the Load Capacity

Before securing the rack’s load, check the car’s load capacity. It would be no benefit to overload the vehicle and face driving difficulties.

Secondly, check your rack’s user manual and confirm the maximum load capacity the rack can withstand.

Read: How to pick a roof rack lock

Step 2: Prepare Your Rack

Ensure your rack is well set to avoid exerting pressure on the sunroof. On the other hand, space the cross rails to distribute the load weight on the roof.

If the antenna is obstructing the rack, remove it to avoid damage.

Step 3: Inspect Your Ratchet

Confirm your ratchet is in good condition to avoid damage to your load. A good ratchet will also enhance safety on the road.

Ratchet straps wear due to a long period of exposure to the sunlight. Also, tightening them on sharp edges can cause damage.

The point is; thoroughly inspect your straps before securing the load.

Read: How to tie ski to roof rack

Step 4: Position the Load

Place your load on the roof rack and position it well for the car’s stability. To be clear, ensure it doesn’t overhang on the front.

If the load hangs on the back, carry out the necessary steps according to traffic rules to alert other drivers.

However, avoid hanging the load to the sides because you pose a higher risk of overtaking motorists.

Step 5: Secure the Load With Ratchet Strap

Attach one hook to the bar on the left side and the second hook to the left. Then, pass the free strap over the load to the side you have attached the strap with a ratchet.

Note, you shouldn’t throw the strap because the metallic end may hit and break the window glass.

Grip the handle and pull the release. Afterward, open the handle to lie flat and lead the strap to the slot on the axle. The free end of the strap should extend out to the other end of the slot.

After the end protrudes out, pull it using one hand until the excess belt extends out of the slot. Then, tighten the ratchet.

To tighten the ratchet, raise and lower the handle in pumping motions. However, be keen on the sharp rack edges to avoid damaging the straps. On the other hand, if your cargo is fragile, don’t over-tighten the straps to prevent damage.

While tightening, the strap will wrap around the axle. Once you are done, close the handle to lock the strap in place.

To conclude, slide the excess strap into the car door and lock it inside or tie it around the rail.

Step 6: Inspect the Load

Check if the load is well secured before driving your car.

How to Free the Load

Once you get to your destination, free the load by firmly gripping the handle. Then, squeeze the release using a thumb and pull the handle back.

After releasing the tension, leave the handle and pull out the strap from the ratchet.

FAQs on Ratchet Straps on Roof Rack

Can You Use Ratchet Straps for Car?

Ratchets are perfect for securing loads on cars. But ratchets with RTJ cluster hooks are better for towing cars.

What Straps to Use on Roof Racks?

Ratchet and cam straps are perfect for securing loads on roof racks.

How Many Ratchet Straps Do I Need?

Use one strap if your cargo is less than 5 feet and less than 1000 pounds. On the other hand, use two straps if the load is more than 5 feet and exceeds 1000 pounds. This is according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

If you regularly travel with loads, learn how to use ratchet straps on roof rack. They enhance maximum safety.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *