Cars/Motorcycles, Repairs

How to loosen a ratchet strap that is jammed and tighten it properly

how to loosen a ratchet strap

If you want to move large or small goods, with a vehicle or on a trailer, you have to fasten them in most cases for reasons of load securing. We outline step by step how to loosen a ratchet strap, how to tighten a ratchet strap properly, and what to do when it jams.

How to loosen a ratchet strap: overview

A ratchet strap is commonly used to hold shipments or devices in place during transit. Ratchet straps are widely used to secure heavy cargo. Ratchet straps are handy, but caution is advised as they are also delicate to use and can sometimes jam, so you need to know how to loosen ratchet straps when this happens.

There are basically two types of ratchet strap tension belts. The one-piece lashing strap , which you have to loop around the goods and means of transport almost completely once in order to then insert the end into the ratchet. And there is the two-part tension belt. This consists of a short strap with a ratchet and hook and a long part with just one hook. As a result, such lashing straps can be used very well with trailers that already have appropriate eyelets or tabs for attaching such straps.

The ratchets can differ, depending on the manufacturer. However, in most cases the principle is similar. Also read how to check transmission fluid in manual or auto, and change it if needed.

Once you understand how a ratchet strap works, and how to loosen a ratchet strap easily, you won’t want to use anything else. They have built-in pressure equipment and estimated weight dimensions that make them a reliable and safe choice for attachment. As common as they are, for some people the use of ratchet straps can be overwhelming and contain parts they are unfamiliar with.

These straps can get jammed if they are not handled carefully or if you do not use them properly. Ratchet straps are very useful, but it can be a very frustrating experience when they get trapped. All ratchet straps work the same way with a ratchet mechanism, and there are several how to loosen ratchet strap methods.

How to release a jammed ratchet strap

What causes a jammed ratchet strap? Several things can cause this to happen, and each has its solution to the specific problem.

Corroded ratchet

If you forget to keep your straps and they stay in your trailer, corrosion will happen faster. In this case, the ratchet pawls will stick and it will be difficult to secure or loosen the ratchet strap.This challenge can be solved in two ways; Application of the method that offers a solution to all corrosion problems — WD-40, but being careful not to get it on the webbing — then jiggle and work on the pawls while squeezing the manual pawl to loosen the ratchet as needed. It is important to note that the release may not be immediate for the ratchet to work properly again.

Partly not closed ratchet

This is often the problem when a ratchet is jammed. The ratchet is partially closed. To release the strap from the ratchet, you need to make sure that you are putting pressure on the manual pawl. This raises the manual pawl and creates space for the ratchet to flatten. Also read how to get first-time DIY car servicing right with our step by step guide.

Disengagement requires some manual effort. You must pull firmly on the unhooked belt so that the belt finally unwinds from the spool. Note that you must lift the main handle before releasing the manual pawl. Keep pulling up until the ratchet device is as flat as possible, then pull the loose straps out of the ratchet. If this doesn’t work the first time, repeat the process until it works.

The ratchet spindle is packed full

This possibility is also commonplace as the problem. It’s pretty easy to face this challenge if you don’t get the slack off before securing your cargo. Removing the slack prevents the spindle from building up. If you buckle up your device correctly, you will find that you have a leftover strap. That’s how it should be!

It’s better to have a small leftover strap that actually wraps around the spindle.This is to ensure that the pawls are working properly. It is important to note that a fully packed spindle is very dangerous.This makes it difficult to secure and lock and can likely hit the automatic pawl.

Other tips

  • Some belt retractors lock in certain positions … turn it upside down, then knock it gently to loosen the jam.
  • The ratchet usually has an inner bracket.
  • 1. Pull the bracket towards the handle of the ratchet.
  • 2. Hold the bracket pulled and fully open the ratchet. At the lower end of the bracket, a lug on each side now press the lock.
  • 3. Pull the bracket further and keep the belt tensioned and then push the ratchet towards the belt. Then the inner tension pulley rotates and releases the tension from the belt. Now press (hold the bracket pulled) until the belt can be pulled out by hand.

If your ratchet device doesn’t work after the above, you may need to purchase a new set of ratchet straps.

How to tighten a ratchet strap properly

how to loosen a ratchet strap

A ratchet strap is always useful when you need to securely fasten objects during transport. This requires that you attach and tension the belt correctly. We’ll show you how it works very easily.

  • Open the ratchet lever and move the slot of the empty winding drum into the threading position for the webbing.
  • Guide the loose end into the slot in the winding drum (1). The belt must not be twisted.
  • The flat side of the ratchet must point towards the load. Pull through to the desired length by hand (2) – This is how you pre-tension the lashing strap before you tighten it completely using the ratchet.
  • Now use the ratchet to tighten the tension belt even further until the desired tension is achieved. To do this, move the handle (3) back and forth until the objects to be transported are really firmly in place.
  • If the tensioning belt is fully tensioned (and the load cannot be moved), then you close the ratchet completely and make sure that the locking bar engages correctly in order to avoid accidentally loosening it.


  • Loosen the tensioning belt (4) : By pulling the pawl and at the same time turning the tensioning handle into a 180 degree position.
  • Pull the belt out again by hand (5).

Correct storage

To avoid all of the above problems, how you store the ratchet strap and how long it will be used is important.

To store it, consider using a heavy elastic band or octopus strap to keep it neatly folded or rolled into ratchet straps and webbing. Plus, you can put them in a bag or container and keep them out of the heat and sun in a dry place. Make sure you never store them in a damp place, otherwise mold can grow on the ratchet strap and corrode the metal parts. Also, keep them away from the harsh UV rays of sunlight, or the nylon and elastic thread will become fragile, causing them to fade, deteriorate, and possibly become unsustainable.

Different types of ratchet strap fittings

There are different tensioning elements: The pressure ratchet or short lever ratchet is the most commonly used type of ratchet. They have to achieve an STF value (Standard Tension Force) between 250 and 350 daN. This means that the pressure ratchet requires significantly more force than the ERGO long-lever ratchet , which has an STF value of 500 DaN.

In addition, the long lever ratchet is moved in the direction of the fixed end, whereas the pressure ratchet is moved in the direction of the loose end. This technology makes the ERGO long lever ratchet much more back-friendly than the pressure ratchet. Clamp locks are clamped tight and are therefore only suitable for small weights.

End fittings

The end fittings of a ratchet strap can be freely selected and have very different areas of application:

Double pointed hookplasticized S-hookCarabiner with safety hook – lashing strapLashing strap – flat hook with safety deviceLashing strap – claw hookLashing strap – elongated hole lashing fittingLashing strap – double stud fittingLashing strap – single stud fittingLashing strap -D-ringLashing strap – board wall bracket

Areas of application of the different end fittings

  • The double pointed hook, the plasticized S-hook and the carabiner with safety catch are suitable for all lashing points in the vehicle floor and on the front and side walls.
  • The flat hook with safety device is used for rod lashing rails that are often used in furniture transporters.
  • The slot lashing fitting for combination lashing rails is used in combination lashing rails made of aluminum or steel.
  • The double-stud fitting and the single-stud fitting fit into all airline lashing rails with a 25mm grid and a hole diameter of 20mm.
  • The D-ring can be used universally for many special applications.
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