How Many Tie Down Straps Do I Need to Secure My Cargo?

Don’t know how many you need to secure your load? Read to learn more.

When you are securing your cargo load with tiedowns, it is crucial to know how many you need. Protecting your cargo with the correct amount of straps is important so you can transport and deliver it safely. Read on how to use ratchet straps, how many you need, and what to use to protect them.

How to Use Ratchet Straps

using several straps to tie down straps load

Learning how to use cargo straps is beneficial to how many you need for the task in front of you. Our ratchet straps are an important player in transporting cargo and once you understand how to use them, you’ll be a pro at it!

We have a wide variety of ratchet tie down straps in so many sizes and styles, and each of them is listed with weight capacities. To learn more about how to thread a ratchet strap, check out one of our product experts explaining the steps.

Source: US Cargo Control

How Many Heavy Duty Ratchet Straps Do I Need?

truck straps for your tie down application needs

Depending on the weight and length of your cargo, the number of straps vary. According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, they state that you only use one tiedown if your cargo is shorter than 5 feet and less than 1,000 pounds.

If your cargo is shorter than 5 feet but weighs more than 1,000 pounds or is between 5 to 10 feet long, then you would need to have two straps. Keep in mind that for the first 10 feet of length, it must be secured by two tiedowns. Then for every additional 10 feet, you would add one tiedown.

We recommend that if you are transporting 10,000 pounds or more, then to use at least four tiedowns. Be sure to use corner protectors to protect your straps, which is explained more below.

How Do I Protect Them?

blue corner protector to protect your cargo or your strap
Corner Protector – Blue

To prevent your ratchet straps from getting damaged from edges, consider using corner protectors. Also known as corner guards, they can extend the life of your ratchet straps.

Corner protectors are inexpensive and they can protect not just your straps, but also your cargo, chains, tarps or any covers that you will use in tie down applications. For how to store your ratchet straps, read 10 Ways to Store Tie Down Straps.

At US Cargo Control, we want you to have the highest quality products so you can get the job done. If you would have any questions about our flatbed trailer accessories, give our team a call at 866-444-9990.

Lever Binders and Ratchet Binders: What are the Safety Benefits?

Are you looking for which chain binder is best for your haul? Read to learn the differences of each binder.

When researching the benefits of lever binders and ratchet binders, people often ask “what can I do with a lever binder?” or “how to use a ratchet binder?” It can be scary operating these binders because of the injury risk it may bring. Read the differences of each chain binder and how to operate them safely.

What is a Chain Binder?

A chain binder is a tool used to tighten chain to secure cargo for transport. When shopping for chain binders, there are commonly two styles: the ratchet binder and the lever binder.

How to Use Chain Binders?

Ratchet Binders

a ratchet binder, also known as a load binder chain
Ratchet Binder 5/16″ – 3/8″

A ratchet binder, or a ratchet chain binder, includes a ratcheting mechanism to create tension in the chain in order to safely secure the load. It has a handle, two tension hooks, and a cam and prawl mechanism to create a smooth, ratcheting action.

When you are using a ratchet binder, the lever and screw will work together to increase the force applied to the tie-down assembly. This will provide the least amount of work to bind the chain tightly to secure the load. Also, its handle takes much less pulling force than you would need with a lever binder.

Lever Binders

the other type of chain binders, the lever load binder
Lever Binder 1/4″

A lever binder, or lever chain binder, is the easiest to unbind quickly to unload your cargo. The lever binder has a lever and tension hook on each end, and the lever can increase the force when applying to a tie-down.

The lever binder will require more pulling force because it stores energy in the handle. With added tension, this can make it harder to tighten because it requires more strength.

chain and binder set
Recoil-less Cam Action Lever Binder 5/16″ – 3/8″

The lever binder is viewed as the least safe option because of the lever’s built-up tension when you release it. Recently, we added a new type of lever binder called the Recoilless Cam Action Lever Binder. This is one of the safest lever binders on the market today. This is because its unique design eliminates the whiplash that occurs when you release the chain tension.

If you are seeking a lever binder but want to add safety to it, this is the perfect choice for you. To learn more about this new product we added, check out our blog post on New Products Alert: Recoil-less Cam Action Lever Binder and Ratchet Chain Binder.

So, Which Binder is Best for Your Haul?

Although the lever binder can unbind quickly to unload your cargo, the ratchet binder is considered the safest option. With less built-up tension, this reduces the risk of the bar snapping back on you.

At the end of the day, the chain binders are only as safe as how you are using them. If you don’t use it correctly, it will become a danger to you. If you wish to learn more about our chain binders, give our team a call so we can get you the information that you need to keep you going.

At US Cargo Control, we care about your safety. When you’re ready to use chain binders, go to US Cargo Control or give our sales team a call at 800-969-6543.

New Products Alert: Recoil-less Cam Action Lever Binder and Ratchet Chain Binder

The Recoil-less Cam Action Lever Binder and Heavy Duty Ratchet Chain Binder are now available at US Cargo Control

The Recoil-less Cam Action Lever Binder and Heavy-Duty Ratchet Chain Binder are now available on the USCC website!

You can now purchase the Recoil-Less Cam Action Lever Binder in a single quantity or 5-pack, and the Heavy-Duty Ratchet Chain Binder in a single quantity or 4-pack from US Cargo Control. And get this, we are offering a 10% discount for these products from now until January 19th!

The price will be automatically discounted at checkout, so no promotion code is required. Get yours now!

What is a Chain Binder?

A chain binder is a tool used to tighten chain to secure cargo to a trailer for transport. When shopping for chain binders, there are commonly two styles: the ratchet binder and the lever binder.

Recoil-less Cam Action Lever Binder 5/16″ – 3/8″

Lever chain binder
Lever binder lock

This is the first recoil-less cam action lever binder we offer, and this binder is one of the safest lever binders on the market today. Known as a recoil-less safety lever binder, it features a center cam that can rotate freely of the end hooks and its unique design eliminates the whiplash that occurs when the chain tension is released. This allows the lever binder to use leverage to tighten the chain and secure cargo.

The other standard lever-type binders present a safety concern because when you release the binder, it often kicks back and makes it dangerous for your cargo and you. Unlike this recoil-less lever binder, the 360-degree swivel motion handle is super quick, easy to operate, and requires no tools.

Lever type load binder
Load binder

Our lever load binder has a working load limit of 6,600 pounds, compared to standard lever binders’ working load limit of 5,400 pounds. When using this, use our transport chains:

5/16″ Grade 70 Transport Chain

3/8″ Grade 70 Transport Chain

5/16″ Grade 80 Transport Chain

Heavy Duty Ratchet Chain Binder

Heavy duty chain binder
load binder chain

Our Heavy Duty Ratchet Chain Binder is built for durability and maximum strength. These chain binders utilize a ratcheting mechanism to create tension in the chain and secure its load. The forged steel handle offers maximum leverage, while the cam and pawl design allows for easier and faster securement.

It features a ratchet handle and two tension hooks on each end. The ratchet chain binder comes in sizes 5/16″ and 3/8″ and a working load limit of 6,600 pounds. When looking for chains, use the heavy-duty ratchet chain binder with 5/16″ Grade 70 Transport Chain or 3/8″ Grade 70 Transport Chain.

What is the Difference between Grades of Chains?

Source: US Cargo Control

When you’re ready to secure your cargo load with chain binders, go to US Cargo Control or give our sales team a call at 800-969-6543.

5 Pieces of Flatbed Trailer Equipment Every Driver Should Have

We carry quality products to keep you and your flatbed trailer moving forward. Check out the five most popular pieces of equipment made for flatbed owners.

From corner protectors to tire chains, we have the flatbed equipment for your trailer to keep you running smoothly

Being a flatbed trailer owner, you know there is not much your trailer cannot hold. Your load is exposed, and you need the equipment to hold it down tight while protecting it from abrasions or damage. Whether you’re a new flatbed truck driver or an experienced one, we carry supplies that can help you deliver your cargo load safely and on time.

Tire Chains

These tire chains, also known as snow tire chains, are designed to help transport you and your cargo to your destination through snowy or icy conditions. These snow chains provide added control behind the wheel when you’re stuck in the snow, and allow better traction as well.

We carry light-duty tire chains and heavy-duty tire chains. The difference is in how you plan on using these types of chains. If you think you will rarely use a tire chain during the cold months, consider the light-duty chain. If you know you will be using chains frequently, then you might want to invest in a heavy-duty chain.

Keep in mind that even if you don’t travel regularly in winter conditions, some states do have DOT regulations requiring drivers to carry or use tire chains during the winter season. So make sure to carry tire chains in your vehicle during the chilly months.

Tarps

Tarps are one of the best ways to protect your cargo load. We carry heavy- duty tarps that fight against elements such as rain and snow. Not only can they combat certain weather situations, but these tarp covers can also prevent scratches and marks on your precious cargo. These truck tarps contain two or three rows of d-rings across the length of the tarp, so the tarp can be tied down firmly to the truck bed. Some of the different types of tarps we carry are lumber tarps, steel tarps, machinery tarps, smoke and nose tarps, and more.

We even create custom flatbed tarps at our facility in Urbana, IA. In this video, Adam explains how our team creates long-lasting custom tarps at your convenience.

Corner Protectors & Vee Boards

Corner protectors are an inexpensive way to protect your cargo. Not only can they protect your cargo from being smashed or damaged, but these guards can also protect your straps, chains, and tarps. They are designed to protect the tarp material from any ripping or abrasions caused by sharp corners. The purpose behind these wall corner guards is providing a layer between the cargo and the strap or chain, and having this extra layer can decrease the pressure on the load from the strap/chain.

Learn more about which corner protector to use for your cargo.

Fun fact: the plastic corner protectors can extend the life of your ratchet straps by reducing rubbing.

Winch Straps & Ratchet Straps

Both ratchet straps and winch straps work well for heavy tie down applications for the trucking industry. The only differences are in how to tighten the straps, and what type of lock the two straps carry.

When using the ratchet strap, you slide the strap to the spool, bring it back over on itself, and pull the strap. After this, you can start to ratchet and repeatedly crank the lever until the load is tightened. Both tie-down types are available with a flat hook, wire hook, chain extension, or grab hook.

We carry many colors like red, green, blue, and yellow so you can recognize what strap you are using, as well as matching your company or vehicle’s colors.

D-rings

A D-ring is a piece of hardware shaped like the letter D, that can connect to the strap or be mounted directly to your flatbed trailer to secure your cargo. D-rings and straps are a flexible way to supply a trailer with many tie-down points to secure the cargo load. We carry many different styles of d-rings, and we have d-ring parts and accessories that allow you to customize your trailer configuration.

We also carry transport chains and binders, rubber/bungee tarp straps, safety supplies, winch bars, and more. Learn more about the flatbed trailer equipment we carry on our USCC website.

Call our team of experts at 800-404-7068 if you have any questions or need more information.

How We Make Long-Lasting Custom Tarps that Stand Out [video]

Our team that produces our tarps here in-house is focused on making sure that every single tarp they send out is made to the exact specifications and quality that our customers expect.

Video Transcript:

At US Cargo Control we have a team that’s dedicated to making sure that our customers get quality products at all times.

Our team that produces our tarps here in-house is focused on making sure that every single tarp they send out is made to the exact specifications and quality that our customers expect.

When we send things out to customers, we don’t send out anything that we wouldn’t want to use ourselves when we’re on the road.

So, know that when the team is making your tarp that it would be something that they would be using themselves.

Ordering Your Custom Tarp

So, when a customer calls in to make a custom tarp, we’ll ask a variety of different questions.

  1. The application the tarp is going to be used in
  2. The type of material they want to use
  3. The number of D-rings they want and the number of grommets

Colors & Stenciling

We also carry a number of colors, so we have more than just black that we can make, and we can also do stenciling as well in-house. So, if you’re wanting to get your name or a company name on a tarp we can definitely do that to help with branding and make sure you stand out when using your tarp over the road.

We carry a large variety of tarps on our website, but obviously, we don’t carry every single tarp in the industry. So if you don’t see what you’re looking for, call in and talk to our sales team. We have a team that’s dedicated to making sure you get the exact tarp you’re looking for and all of our sales team members are experts within the industry.

So, when you call in, if you don’t have all the answers, that’s fine. We’re here to help you and uncover the exact needs that you have. Our sales team is here to get you what you want when you need it, and we’ll get you the exact tarp that fits the needs that you’re looking for.

To inquire about custom tarps call: 800-969-6543

Corner Protector Comparison Video: What’s Best for Your Cargo?

Some of the different corner protectors we offer include plastic, steel, rubber, fabric, felt, and sleeves. What are the differences?

Corner protectors are an inexpensive way to protect not only your cargo but your straps, chains, tarps, and other tie-down equipment.

Some of the types of corner protectors that we offer include plastic, steel, rubber, fabric, felt, and sleeves.

Plastic Corner Protectors

Plastic corner protectors, or V boards, are flexible, lightweight, stackable, and weather resistant. We sell many different types of plastic corner protectors including corner protectors for bricks, flexible tarp corner protectors, and long and narrow edge protectors that are great for large sheets of drywall and plywood.

Steel Corner Protectors

Steel corner protectors are excellent for heavy-duty uses involving transport chain and for larger, heavier cargo like coils. The durable galvanized steel is protected from premature rust and allows these metal edge protectors to last a long time. We also sell steel corner protectors with rubber lining.

Felt Corner Protectors

Felt corner protectors are durable and tear resistant, great for protecting sensitive cargo and tie down straps. They’re made of industrial grade felt material and are commonly used as lifting sling pads and coil padding as well as for edge protection.

Protective Sleeves

We also have two different types of sleeves: the Cordura wear sleeve and the fleece sleeve protector. Both sleeves wrap around your tie down straps and provide abrasion resistance. The fleece sleeve also adds a level of padding and is great if you’re hauling vehicles with nice paint or chrome that you want to protect.

Extension Handle for Corner Protectors

Using corner protectors is easier than ever with our 8-foot extension handle, specifically designed to make it easier to place corner protectors, brick guards, and veeboards without having to climb onto the trailer. It extends to approximately 8 feet and then easily retracts to approximately 4 feet for easy storage.

How to Install L Track Anchor Tie Down Points on your Truck or Trailer

Learn how to install 2″ L Track round anchor tie-down points. This installation job is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take more than an hour or two when you have the right tools and proper instructions.

DIY Installation Video Below

Installing L-Track, or logistic track, on your truck or trailer gives you secure tie down points right where you need them. There are many other benefits to installing L track as a tie-down system, and there are also some key differences between L track and E track.

In the video below, we show you how to install 2″ L Track round anchor tie-down points. This installation job is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take more than an hour or two when you have the right tools and proper instructions.

Tools Needed:

  • Cordless Drill with 1/4″ Drill Bit
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • 7/16 Wrench
  • Tape Measure
  • Sharpie Marker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICZ3mWkz7wM?rel=0

The 2″ Round Anchor Point Tie Down Kit comes with four sets of anchors, bolt plates, rings, and fasteners. In this video, we install two L track anchor points on a truck bed floor and two on the front wall. To install L track tie downs on a trailer, the required steps are essentially the same.

L Track Anchor Point Installation Steps:

  1. Use a tape measure to determine your install point. Place the anchor in the intended spot and mark both holes using the sharpie.
  2. Using a cordless drill with 1/4″ bit, drill through the truck bed to create the two installation holes.
  3. Place an anchor over the holes and insert two screws.
  4. From the underside of the truck, install a bolt plate through the two fasteners then add nuts and tighten with a wrench.
  5. Once your anchors are tightly secured, you can install the removable tie down ring. Grasp the base of the ring while pushing the center down with your thumb. Slide it into place over the anchor and release to lock it into place.

Tip: To install these L track anchor points in tight spots, like the front wall of a truck bed, it’s helpful to hold your wrench on the nuts while you tighten the screws from the other side with a screwdriver.

installing l track tie downs

More L Track Tips

Remember to release and remove your tie down rings if your hauling cargo that doesn’t require using your new tie down points. It doesn’t take long to remove and replace them, and it will help prevent unwanted damage.

If you’d rather have compact strips of aluminum L-track serve as the anchor for your removable tie-down rings, see our 6-piece 4-inch L Track Tie Down System that works great on enclosed trailer walls as well as truck bed floors and rails. The benefit of this system is that you can quickly and easily adjust where your anchor points sit along the 4-foot rails.

If you’re hauling motorcycles and want the ultimate hold on your bike with the versatility of L-track, check out the TrackStar L-track Motorcycle Chock that’s light and easy to handle but durable and reinforced with powder-coated tubular steel construction.

For all tie down rail options, see our Airline Track & L-Track Tie Down Rails page.

Differences Between Winch Bars: Standard, Combination, & Ergo 360

This post will help you understand the options you have when it comes to buying winch bars and help you decide which type you should add to your collection of flatbed gear.

Which type of flatbed winch bar is best for you?

If your truck has winch straps, a winch bar is an invaluable tool you can’t go without. With a bit of muscle, winch bars give you the necessary leverage needed to securely tie your loads down and easily release them when it’s time to unload. Some winch bars can even release lever binders.

With all the different winch bar options available today, how do you know which type is the smartest choice for you? This post will help you understand the options you have when it comes to buying winch bars and help you decide which type you should add to your collection of flatbed gear.

Standard Winch Bars

Standard winch bars are the obvious choice for someone who only uses synthetic web winches. These straightforward bars have a standard mushroom tip that slides right into all standard web winches. They also have a knurled handle for non-slip grip.

US Cargo Control sells standard winch bars with a black paint finish or a chrome finish. Chrome provides a bit of rust resistance and many prefer the look of chrome over the black.

Combination Winch Bars

Combination winch bars, or combo bars, take it a step further with their ability to not only tighten and release synthetic winch straps but also release lever chain binders.

There are two styles of combination winch bars: standard combination bars and square head combination bars. The square head provides an added safety factor, as the tension on lever binders can create some serious kickback. Unlike standard combination winch bars with a hollow end that slides over the lever, square head winch bars have a slight pivot point that reduces the potential force if your bar were to recoil back at you.

No matter what type of bar you have, always try to stand to one side of the winch bar when you are releasing tension on a lever binder.

Ergo Winch Bars

If you’re looking for a winch bar that’s easy on your back and neck, the Ergo 360 winch bar is a perfect choice. It’s available in the same three styles (standard, combo, and combo with square head) but its unique bent shape means the bar handle and tip stay parallel to each other for maximum leverage. And unlike any other winch bar, Ergo bars can rotate 360-degrees so you won’t have to use low (and uncomfortable) angles when tightening the winch straps.

If that’s not enough for you, the Ergo bar is also heat treated for added strength and durability.

More Flatbed Winch Accessories

Ratcheting Winch Cap

Want even more convenience? Ratcheting winch bars are a popular way to tighten winch straps because they allow you to continuously tighten without removing the bar from the winch cap. This saves you both time and energy.

Now, with our universal ratcheting winch cap, you can easily turn any winch bar into a ratcheting winch bar.

ratcheting winch cap for fast securement

This weather-tight cap fits on weld-on winches, bolt-on winches, and slide-on winches, so you can’t go wrong with it. Simply slide the ratcheting winch cap onto the standard winch cap, spin it in place, and secure with the provided bolt.

Strap Winder

Tired of wasting time winding up straps only to make a mess of it? Attach a strap winder to the side rails on your flatbed so you can keep your excess winch strap neat and secure. Adam shows how it works in the video below.

8 Practical Present Ideas for the Holidays

Practical presents are the obvious choice for those people on your holiday gift list who say there’s nothing they want or need. When you get someone a practical gift, you enjoy the certainty of knowing that one way or another, it will come in handy for them. Plus, you get the satisfaction of surprising them with something they didn’t necessarily ask for or expect to get.

To help guide your holiday shopping this year, and make it as painless as possible, we’ve compiled a list of the top 8 most practical cargo control gifts for 2018. 

 

Moving Supplies

1. Moving Blanket

using a moving blanket as a dog bed

This first practical present idea comes in handy for way more than just protecting furniture during a move. Not only can moving blankets be used as portable pet beds (on couches, car seats, or dog house) they can also be used as a soft place to lay or sit when boating, camping, hunting, or at a sporting event. We also have sound blankets that are great for recording studios or to drown out a noisy neighbor. 

 

Truck and Trailer Gear

2. Cargo Net

cargo net on pickup truck flatbed

Cargo nets are an excellent gift for pick-up truck owners. They’re lighter and easier to manage compared to tarps, and they still do a great job at securing cargo. US Cargo Control has short bed truck cargo nets and long bed truck cargo nets. Both come with cam buckles and S-hooks for quick securement. We also sell small cargo nets for motorcycles and mopeds.

 

3. Recovery Straps

where to get recovery straps

Anyone who owns a pick-up truck or even a large SUV should keep a recovery strap in their vehicle at all times, especially during the winter months. If you know someone who likes offroading or mudding, this gift is a no-brainer for them. Our recovery straps are made in the USA and designed for both recovery and towing use.

 

4. Car Tie-Downs

image of adjustable wheel net

If you need a practical present for a car collector, mechanic, or tow truck driver, auto tie-down straps are a perfect choice. Auto tie-downs are really only practical for someone who frequently hauls vehicles or someone who owns a flatbed trailer or tow dolly. USCC has both wheels nets and tow dolly straps for sale.

 

5. Ratchet Straps

yellow ratchet straps in truck bed holding a kayak secure

A person can never have enough ratchet straps. And US Cargo Control has one of the largest selection of ratchet straps, cam straps, and heavy-duty tie downs that you’ll find anywhere. Hunters and outdoorsmen love our camo ratchet straps and if the person on your list ever hauls heavy cargo, our BlackLine ratchet straps have the strongest break strength in the industry.

 

6. Good-N-Tight Ratchet Handle

tool for tightening ratchet straps

If you know someone who frequently tightens ratchet straps, the Good-N-Tight ratchet strap tightening handle would be a super helpful gift for them. It’s built for 2″, 3″, and 4″ ratchet straps and makes tightening them up a breeze. Plus, the Good-N-Tight handle reduces back stress and the potential for injury.

 

7. USCC Apparel

trucking industry clothing

Clothing is always a great practical present idea. Everyone needs it. Give the present of warmth this holiday with our pullover style hooded sweatshirt with a double-lined hood. We also have branded mechanics gloves, USCC trucker caps, and stainless steel tumblers that keep drinks cold for 24 hours and warm for up to 6 hours.

 

Lifting Equipment

8. Chain Hoist

chain hoist 1 ton

If you’re really feeling generous this holiday, give the practical gift of massive lifting power with a Columbus McKinnon Chain Hoist or Coffing Chain Hoist. These powerful tools make a great gift for hunters, farmers, construction workers, and mechanics. Chain hoists can lift anything from engines and building materials to animal feed and can even be used as a fast way to skin a deer.

 

Expected Delivery Time

There you have it. 8 practical present ideas for the 2018 holiday season. Don’t wait until it’s too late, place your order today to ensure these gifts arrive on time. 

Orders placed before 4pm Central time will ship out the same day, and delivery to most of the United States takes just 1-3 days.

From the USCC family to yours, have a safe and happy holiday. 

 

Headache Racks: 5 Reasons why your Semi Truck should have one

Headache racks for semi trucks are a smart investment for any serious truck driver looking to maximize their truck’s protection, their own personal protection, or to increase storage and truck accessory options.

 

What is a Headache Rack?

A headache rack is commonly fabricated using aluminum, steel, or stainless steel. They are installed right behind your truck’s cab mainly to protect you and your truck from loose objects that may fly through the back glass. However, this is just one benefit to having a headache rack.

 

heavy duty headache racks for semi
This 70″ wide aluminum headache rack features an E-Z view window for rear window visibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is it Called a Headache Rack?

It’s unclear whether the name headache rack originated from the fact that they prevent cargo from flying through and hitting you in the head, or because they help prevent a headache you would experience if your truck is damaged. Another theory is that the rack itself can cause a headache if you are not careful when climbing around the back of your cab.

 

5 Benefits of a Headache Rack

Despite the potential for a self-inflicted head bump, there are 5 huge benefits to installing a truck headache rack.

 

1. Safety

Heavy-duty headache racks are the best way to prevent tools, cargo, or road debris from flying through your rear window and causing damage to your truck or to yourself. Another cool benefit is the fact that headache racks help reflect sunlight, so less heat gets into your cab.

 

2. Hauling Tools

installing aluminum headache rack with lights
This 80″ wide heavy-duty headache rack features two locking chain racks and a full tray.

Many semi truck headache racks come equipped with tool racks or trays that allow quick but secure access to your roadside tools and cargo securement supplies. This Merritt® headache rack comes with two locking chain racks and a full tray to keep transport chains secured.

 

3. Mounting Lights

Installing a headache rack on your truck also provides an additional mounting surface for lighting and other accessories. Once the rack is in place, it’s easy to mount LED beacon lights, light bars, warning lights, or even radio antennas.

 

4. Mounting a Toolbox

Even though many semi truck headache racks have storage options built-in, there’s no such thing as too much tool storage. And just like with lighting, a headache rack also provides a sturdy mountable surface for an additional toolbox. Since many semi truck toolboxes have locks, they are a great accessory to have right behind your cab.

 

5. Cool Looking

Last but not least, let’s talk about how cool these headache racks look. A new headache rack adds a fresh look to any truck and can even be powder-coated to color match your rig (if you’re not into the base metallic silver look). They add a more rugged look to your rig, while also serving multiple highly useful purposes.

understand the benefits of an aluminum headache rack
Headache racks add a rugged look to your rig and also serve multiple useful purposes.

 

Types of Headache Racks

Headache racks are commonly made of aluminum, steel, or stainless steel (or a composite).

Aluminum headache racks are popular due to their low weight, corrosion resistance, and affordability.

Obviously, stainless will beat aluminum in overall corrosion resistance (ideal for those salty winter roads), but the low weight of aluminum will help keep your rig’s total weight much lower.

 

Using Chain Binders to Safely Tie Down Heavy Cargo

Chain binders are an intelligent securement tool for anyone who transports heavy vehicles and machinery, or for someone who wants a little extra peace of mind when it comes to hauling cargo.

Since the number of tie-downs you need to secure cargo is dependent on the cargo length, cargo weight, and cargo type, the value in using chain binders and tie-down chains increases as the weight of your load increases (you need the working load limits of all your tie-downs to add up to at least 50% the weight of your cargo).

Instead of using a large number of nylon tie-down straps, which are more susceptible to cuts and tears when secured to certain machinery (like a Bobcat bucket), use tie-down chains and chain binders for long-lasting securement.

 

benefit of chain binders over nylon tie down straps
Instead of nylon straps, use transport chain and chain binders to tie down sharp objects. image source

 

What is a chain binder?

Chain binders, also known as load binders, are chain tensioning devices used to anchor down large cargo loads for transport. They are commonly made of forged steel and feature grab hooks or other fittings on each end. Chain binders are available in a variety of styles, sizes, and working load limits to fit your needs.

 

How much does a binder weigh?

A common question we often get about chain binders is, “how heavy are they?” The weight of chain binders varies quite a bit depending on the style and the brand but, in general, chain binders can weight anywhere 3.5 Lbs. up to 20 Lbs. and beyond. Obviously, using a larger chain size will result in a larger and heavier binder.

 

Types of chain binders

There are two general types of chain binders to choose from, lever binders and ratchet binders. Each has different advantages and disadvantages to consider, but the main difference lies in how the binder is tightened.

 

benefit of a lever chain binder
Lever binders are considered easier to use, but not necessarily safer.

Lever Binder

Commonly called a snap binder, lever binders are easier to use and have fewer moving parts (less maintenance) compared to ratchet binders. With a mechanical advantage of 25:1, lever binders use leverage to tighten the chain and lock themselves after the lever rotates 180-degrees around the hinge. The lever stores energy so operators need to be careful not to let the handle recoil back at them.

 

 

 

ratchet binder vs lever binder
Ratchet binders take some strain off the operator but tightening and untightening generally takes longer.

Ratchet Binder

Comprised of a gear, handle, pawl, and end fittings, ratchet binders have a mechanical advantage of 50:1. Compared to lever binders, they have a slower and steadier loading and unloading process, but also cause less strain on the operator. Since the handle does not store much energy, they are generally considered safer to use compared to lever binders.

 

 

 

 

Tie down rules to consider before buying chain binders

According to the FMCSA, vehicles with wheels or tracks that weigh 10,000 Lbs. or more are required to be tied down and secured on all 4 corners (at a minimum). This weight of vehicle also requires a minimum of 4 anchor tie-downs (connections between the load and your trailer) and 4 tightening devices (binders).

Also, length plays a role in determining how many chain binders you will need for a given load. Loads 5′ or less require just one tie-down, however, if the weight of that object is more than 1,100 Lbs. two tie-downs are required. Loads 5′ to 10′ in length require 2 tie-downs.

rules for using tie downs
Length and weight both play a factor in determining how many tie downs you need.

 

How to maintain load binders

To reduce friction and prolong the life of a lever binder, it’s best practice to routinely lubricate its pivot and swivel points. For ratchet binders, you should lubricate both the screw threads and the pawl part.

When it comes to storing your load binders, it’s best to keep them somewhere dry and away from the dangers of chemical or environmental damage. Chain carriers or similar toolboxes are great for this.

 

how to tell if you need new transport chain
This chain has been stretched and bent beyond use. image source

When should you replace a chain binder or transport chain?

Be sure to routinely check your binders for any signs of wear including bending, cracking, nicks, or gouges. If you find evidence of this, it’s best to replace your binder. As for your chains, you should be checking the individual links regularly for twisting, bending, stretching, or elongation. Don’t forget about checking hooks and other attachments as well.

 

Buy quality chain binders

If chain binders and transport chain sound like the cargo securement solution you need, there’s no better place to get them than US Cargo Control. With dozens of different chain binder options to choose from, as well as a variety of chain grades and chain hooks, we have the solution you need to safely and securely transport heavy cargo.

 

Using Tie Downs to Secure Cargo Loads Safely and Legally

During the 2017 CVSA International Roadcheck, improper cargo securement was the cause for 15.7% of vehicles being placed out of service.

Besides the risk of being placed out of service, there are a number of more serious consequences for improper cargo control securement, including citations and fines, damage to the vehicle, damage to the cargo, loss of the load, or even loss of life.

Taking the time to properly secure cargo loads using tie downs is always worth the time and effort. Read on to understand how tie downs should be used to ensure safe and legal cargo securement.

 

understand how to use tie downs

What is a tie down?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a tie down is a combination of securing devices (webbing, chain, rope, binders, shackles, D-rings, webbing ratchet, etc.) which forms an assembly that:

  1. Attaches cargo to, or restrains cargo on a vehicle.
  2. Is attached to an anchor point(s).

 

So, while we generally think of tie downs as just these:

how to safely use tie down straps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The word tie down by itself (without “straps”) can technically mean many things.

 

Working load limit for tie downs

The working load limit (WLL) for a tie down is the lowest WLL of any of its parts or the WLL of the anchor points it is attached to, whichever is less. Every device contributes to the WLL of the securement system.

using tie downs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always use tie downs that are rated and clearly marked by their manufacturer. This not only gives you, the driver, peace of mind, it also makes it easy for shippers and inspectors to verify that you are using the proper equipment for the job.

 

using tie downs built with quality

 

How tie downs can be used to secure cargo

Tie downs are only safe and effective if they are properly secured to both the cargo and the vehicle. Take the time to ensure logical securement of your cargo to your vehicle.

There are two main ways tie downs can be used:

  1. Attached to the cargo.
    a. Tie downs can be attached to the vehicle and then attached to the cargo.
    b. Or, tie downs can be attached to the vehicle, passed through or around the cargo, and then attached to the vehicle again.

how to use tie downs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Passed over the cargo.
    a. Tie downs may also be attached to the vehicle, passed over the cargo, and then attached to the vehicle again.

how to use tie downs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspecting for proper cargo securement

Remember to periodically inspect your cargo during transit. It may seem like something that is always taking up your precious time, but just one loose strap can prove to be costly or even deadly.

Adjust cargo and load securement devices as necessary to ensure that cargo cannot shift or fall from the vehicle.

 

When is it time to get new tie-downs?

There are a few obvious signs that tell you it’s time to get new tie downs.

If your cargo control equipment shows any of the following, it’s time to invest in new tie downs.

  • knots or obvious damage
  • distress
  • weakened parts
  • weakened sections

time to get new tie downs

 

 

 

Remember, all components of a tie down must be in proper working order. Keep an eye on the condition of your tie downs to avoid inspection penalties or loss of load.

 

Time for new tie down equipment? Check out US Cargo Control for a huge selection of quality tie down equipment that is clearly rated and built to last.