How to Tie a Car Down to a Trailer

by Russell Wood

Tying down a vehicle to a trailer takes a little bit of technique and a little bit of know-how, but if you do it correctly, you'll never have to worry about losing a vehicle on the road. This process takes no tools or special equipment other than tie-down straps, and it should take about 20 minutes to do.


Load the vehicle onto the trailer. This usually involves driving the car up a ramp onto the trailer. Make sure the vehicle is as centered side to side as possible, and put it in nose first if you can. This will give you a better towing experience.


Loop the ratchet tie-down strap across a front suspension point such as the lower control arms, and loop it around, hooking it to itself in the process.


Connect the other end of the ratchet tie-down strap, the one with the hook, to the anchor on the trailer. There should be some slack in the line.


Tighten the strap so that there is a little slack in the line. Make sure that when you're ratcheting the strap tight you don't twist the strap itself. If you do, it will be a pain to undo from the vehicle.


Repeat this process to the other corner on the front end.


Hook the ratchet tie-down strap around the rear axle of the vehicle or another strong suspension point, and connect the other end to the opposite side's tie down anchor on the trailer.


Repeat step 6 on the opposite side of the trailer, creating an "X" shape with the tie downs. Tighten them both down as tight as possible.


Tighten the front ratchet tie down straps as tight as possible. This will create a tension in the lines and won't allow any of them to slip.


Wrap up any excess strap around the ratcheting assembly and tie it off to itself.

Items you will need

About the Author

Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.

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