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Ratchet Strap

Ratchet Strap Jammed? Here's How to Release It

The beauty of ratchet straps is their simplicity. They’re easy to use and remarkably versatile. Plus, their simple design and construction mean that, for the most part, they rarely let you down. However, like any hard-working piece of equipment, a ratchet strap won’t last forever. Over time, the mechanism can begin to wear and experience issues.

One example of this is a jammed ratcheting mechanism or handle. When a ratchet strap jams, you’re no longer able to tighten or loosen it, rendering it completely useless! Here’s why they jam, how to fix the issue and how to stop it from happening again.

Why do ratchet straps jam?

Typically, ratchet straps jam for one of three reasons. If they’ve been poorly maintained (i.e. left outside in the rain and sun for extended periods without regular lubrication), the mechanism can eventually seize. Other potential causes are a sticking handle that doesn’t disengage the ratchet enough to loosen the webbing, or too much webbing being wrapped around the spool.

Some of these problems are a little trickier to solve than others, but here are a few pointers.

How to release a jammed ratchet strap?

If your strap is rusty or covered in dirt and debris, the first step is to clean it up and liberally lubricate the mechanism. You can start with a thin lubricant like WD40; squirt it right into each moving part of the ratchet mechanism, allow it to work for a minute, and then try to free the jam by working the handle back and forth. If you don’t have any luck with this method, your strap might be too far gone. We wouldn’t recommend using heat or any other, more aggressive approach to free the mechanism off - you’re likely to cause irreparable damage to the webbing and compromise the strap’s structural integrity.

If your strap is jammed because there’s too much webbing on the spool, you may have a fight on your hands! The only way to release this (short of cutting the webbing free) is to use brute strength to disengage the ratchet.

How to prevent future issues?

Freeing a jammed strap isn’t a fun job, so it’s better to try and prevent these issues from arising in the first place. For starters, try to take good care of your straps. They may be durable, but they’re not invincible - so keep them out of damp areas and direct sunlight, and make sure you lubricate the ratchet mechanism regularly.

Also, make sure you take the slack out of your strap before tightening the ratchet. If you don’t, you could end up with too much webbing on the spool, causing a jam.

Need replacement ratchet straps? Explore our vast range and get yours online today from Taut Strap, the UK’s leading manufacturer.

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