Ratchet Strap Inspection - What to Look For and When to Know It is Time To Replace Your Straps
Tie downs must be regularly inspected to ensure they are not damaged. Even "minor" damage can drastically reduce the strap's capacity and increase the chance of failure during use.
There is no such thing as "minor damage". If there is any damage or uncertainty of damage, remove the die down. Do not use it!
Tie Down Removal From Service Criteria
The entire ratchet strap assembly must be inspected before each use and removed from service if any of the following are detected:
Important: Tie downs that are damaged and thus removed from service can not be reused and must be destroyed (and made completely unusable)
How Often Should You Inspect Ratchet Strap Assemblies?
Types of Damage to Look For When Inspecting Ratchet Strap Assemblies
The following are a few examples of damage to look for. Remember that even minor damage is enough to remove the tie down from service.
Protecting Ratchet Strap Assemblies From Damage
It is recommended to replace tie downs every 2 to 4 years depending on usage and exposure. (Despite no discovered damage from frequent and periodic inspections.)
Environmental factors such as sunlight, dirt, changes of temperature and humidity, precipitation, etc. can accelerate the deterioration of tie downs.
Visible indications of deterioration can include:
Damaging Actions to Avoid When Using Tie Downs
These are but some of the actions that can cause damage to your ratchet straps:
Nylon tie down strength can be reduced 10-15% by water absorption (the strength returns when nylon strap dries completely). We recommend only using polyester webbing for ratchet strap assemblies.
Safeguard Tie Downs With Edge/Corner Protection
Tie-downs can be damaged by the cargo being secured. Surfaces do not need to be that sharp to potentially damage and cause tie down failure.
All tie downs must always be protected from being cut or damaged by corners, edges, protrusions or abrasive surfaces.
Commercially available products to assist include sleeves, wear pads, edge wraps, body wraps, corner protectors, edge protectors, etc.
Properly Store and Maintain Ratchet Strap Assemblies
When not in use, tie downs should be kept in a cool, dry and dark location. This location must keep the straps away from environmental or mechanical sources of damage.
Dirty tie downs can be cleaned with mild soap and water, so long as they dry out completely before putting in storage or use.