Once you are ready to unload your UTV, motorcycle or other load you will need to release the tension on your ratchet trailer straps.
There are two main type of release mechanisms on a ratchet strap:
1) A bar across the top of a handle that you pull while opening the ratchet handle. To open this type, you pull the ratchet handle flat against the webbing and it will ‘pop’ the spindle releasing the tension on the webbing. Once released you can pull the long end of the webbing through the ratchet.
2) The other type of ratchet has two parts inside the opening of the ratchet. You open the ratchet and reach into the middle of each side and pull up on once you have the handle open. This will release the tension and you can pull the webbing through the ratchet.
If you have a choice between the two types of ratchet straps, the outside release is much safer to use because it keeps your fingers away from the inside of a ratchet strap under tension.
Over time a ratchet may become harder to open or release when using. Many people keep them in the back of a truck where the elements will cause them to rust. Spraying a lubricant such as Teflon spray and working the handle open and closed will increase the life of your ratchet strap.
If possible, store your ratchet straps in a dry place and they will last for years. However, if the webbing becomes frayed or cut it is best to replace the webbing immediately.
Most ratchet strap companies recommend that you pull over and check your load after 20 miles of driving to check your webbing and tighten if needed. Then they suggest you pull over and check again every 30-50 miles.
Many long-haul companies also require their drivers to stop every 150-250 miles to check their ratchet strap tension because loads may shift while driving and all webbing can and will stretch at any time.
If you have a tension type product like ShockStraps built into the ratchet straps you just tighten your ratchet straps and drive — no need to pull over to check the tension in your ratchet straps because they start tight and stay tight!