Repairing ratchet straps.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) frowns upon equipment being in disrepair.  Faulty equipment is only an accident waiting for a place to happen.  Joe and I do our best to keep our stuff in good repair, but sometimes there is just nothing we can do.

When a ratchet strap goes bad on the road – breaks or tears – we end up purchasing new and putting the broken pieces aside for later when we get home to fix them.  Usually it is the webbed straps that fail and not the ratchet.  Although the ratchets do fail from time to time.  Especially when we opt for the cheap stuff from Harbor Freight or some other discount tool place.

The storage compartment on the trailer that holds our straps has become a nightmare to get in.  Crammed full of old red rags, hand wipes, spare straps, and a bunch of other stuff I have no clue why it is crammed in the box.  So my job today is to sort through all the straps.  Let me tell  you, there is a plethora of straps and I’m flabbergasted by the sheer volume of them.

Ratchet straps in many varieties.

Some have broken and were tied together in a last ditch effort to make it work.  This is a BIG NO-NO!

Broken strap tied together

One has been rubbed against something and is not long before it, too, will have gotten the “tie it up” treatment.

Warn and torn strap

One is beginning to show the wear.

Tear in strap

The tears on this strap are bad enough.  If a DOT Officer were to see this strap in use I would get a violation and have to replace it.  I don’t want to be hassled by “the man”.

Faulty strap

One ratchet strap had broken apart and got itself tangled up in the mess of straps in the box, and in the bag.

Broken ratchet strap

Our most recent strap purchase, to replace the worn and torn ones, had ratchet pieces that are very short.  I need to extend the strap for easier use, as shown in the longer one I had altered about 5 years ago.

Extend the short strap

What you will need to repair old straps.  You will need some webbing material.  This can be purchased at fabric stores.  I purchased ours in Wichita, Kansas at the “Yard Store” which has a ton of military surplus stuff.  I’ve looked at the online site and they don’t have a category for this strap webbing.  You may have to call them or stop by and have a look around.

Surplus strapping

You will need a sewing machine.  This stuff is pretty tough to work with by hand sewing.  Joe took two 2″ straps to a shoe repair shop to have them sewn and he was charged $60.  I couldn’t believe the exorbitant charge!

Don’t look to hard at my piled up kitchen table.  It seems to always look this way.  Usually it is piled with mail 😦

A sewing machine

Sewing machine needles meant for  heavy duty fabrics.  I’ve purchased some that are for denim and they work just fine.  These I got from my local fabric shop.

Sewing needles for denim

Thread that is marked for “Heavy Duty” or just “Heavy”.  This thread is used to sew through denim seams.

Heavy thread

And, finally, a lighter to burn the cut edges of the webbing to keep it from fraying.

A lighter to stop the fraying

I have four ratchets that need longer strapping.  Take a strap with you to the fabric store or military surplus center.  Make sure the new webbing will fit through your strap mechanism before you purchase it and get home with it.  Since I’ve done this a few times before I know the stuff I have will work.

4 ratchets to be fixed

Checking to make sure the strap fits the ratchet

Cut the strapping to the length you will need.  I’ve cut five pieces to a length of 29″.

Cut the strapping material to length

With your lighter, burn the cut edges of the strapping to melt the fibers and close them off from fraying.

Burn the cut edges of the strapping

Run the strapping through the pin on the ratchet and give yourself a good 3 to 4 inches to sew down.

Insert strapping to ratchet pin leaving extra to sew on

Run the other end of the strap through the eye-hole of the hook, leaving a length of 3 to 4 inches to sew on.

Insert strapping in eye-hole of hook

Using a straight stitch on your sewing machine, set the webbing under the pressure plate, then sew across the width of the strapping near the ratchet.  Don’t get too close to the ratchet or you will have a bugger of a time rounding the corner to sew the length.

Sew across the width of the strap near the ratchet

Sew down the length of the strap and stop near the bottom edge of the cut piece.

Sew down the length of the strap to the cut edge

Sew across the width of the strap near the cut edge.

Sew across the width near the cut edge

Sew up the length to where you began the stitching.

Sew up the length to your stitching line

You will need to make a reinforcing stitch by creating a “X” in the area you have just sewn.  When you are at the top of your first stitching line, that goes across, turn your strapping roughly diagonal.  You won’t get a “PERFECT” “X” but it will work just fine.

Sew the first part of the "X"

First part of the "X"

Sew across the cut edge, once again, to get to the other side and make the other part of the “X”.

Sew across the width to prepare for the other leg of the "X"

Now sew the other leg of the “X” to complete the reinforcing stitching.

Sew the other leg of the "X"

Your completed stitching will look like this.  Maybe yours will be better than mine 😉

Ratchet attached to the strap

Now do the very same process with the HOOK end of the strap.

Completed strap repair

I now have my straps repaired and ready for work.  Tie them up with rubber bands to keep them from coming undone.  One box for the fairing straps and one box for the steering wheel straps.  This makes me feel good.  All nice and neat.

Fairing straps completed

Old fairing straps

Steering wheel straps extended and repaired.

Repaired steering wheel straps

This is where the steering wheel straps go.

Steering wheel straps

All that is left is to take the boxes to the storage box on the trailer and to wash my filthy hands!

Get those hands washed!

I’m just about ready to get back to work.  Next, I’ll have to cut off some scrub pants for Joe so he has scrub shorts to wear during hooking up.



About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

7 responses to “Repairing ratchet straps.

  • gardenpinks

    So you got some crafty time even if it was for work 🙂 All looks neat and tidy Leslie and what a sense of achievement too 🙂
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      Indeed, that wretched job is done for a while longer. Since I handle the straps I only have myself to swear at for the mess I left. 😀

      That poor sewing machine has not seen the light of day in about 15 years! Good little thing it is, and so ill used.

      Love you – Leslie

  • 9000mah行動電源

    thuh awesum thin’ about thuh social network is ya know, like, that you simply don’t need to be an on-line entrepreneur to become able to make use of it

  • Will K

    Check out odd lots and over-runs at Rosemont Textiles maintains a long list of contacts with the automotive seatbelt industry, including leading weaving mills. Come over to our site now so you can see all we have to offer, then contact us for the very latest in our inventory, pricing, & availability.

  • Ken

    I have a question, how do you re-certify the hardware and know the original break strength? Also, are you putting tags on the straps indicating the BS and WLL in accordance to CFR 49.393? Food for thought, have you ever sent your sew pattern out for a break test? If the bobbin is too tight or the need side is too lose the thread could release or cut the webbing under pressure.

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you, Ken, for your insightful comment on my blog post. Unfortunately, I have to admit to saying “NO” on all of your questions.

      No, I didn’t know there was a CFR regulation on ratchet straps.

      No, I don’t even know what BS or WLL is indicative of in the CFR regulations.

      No, I have not sent my repaired ratchet straps in for a strength test.

      Now that you have me totally freaked out I will have to go to the hardware store to purchase new ratchet straps instead of repairing my old ones.


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