When it comes to outfitting your truck with the right equipment, there are a number of situations that have to be taken into account. Whether being used for personal or business reasons, you should have your commercial truck prepped for the unexpected.
At Camco Wheel & Axle, we know that two of the most common scenarios you and your commercial vehicle will have to face on any given day is hauling/towing other vehicles and helping them get out of sticky situations – or “recovering” them. It is important that you have the right straps for the occasion, so it’s a good idea to look into the difference between recovery straps and tow straps.
The main thing that goes into the making of a good tow strap is the material. Tow straps are made out of polyester for one very important reason: they don’t stretch. Typically, they will also have metal hooks on each end.
There are two main reasons you don’t want a stretchy strap when towing a vehicle.
First of all, the firm ‘hold’ that a tow strap exerts on the car behind you ensures that it will stay where it is supposed to, behind you. If the strap were prone to stretching, there is the chance that the vehicle you are towing could wander into the traffic lanes around you – an invitation for more trouble.
The second reason you don’t want a stretchy strap for towing is that it is essentially the same as driving around with a loaded slingshot behind you. As soon as you hit the brakes, the car behind you will shoot forward if you aren’t using the correct tow strap. The faster you are going, the more extensive the damage could potentially be.
If tow straps are designed to not be stretchable, it follows that recovery straps do have that function built into their design. Nylon is used in making these tools, which are also known as “snatch straps”. The loops on each end are another important distinction between them and those used for towing.
The extra stretch allows the speed and energy from the towing vehicle to be distributed in a smoother manner, avoiding what could be an extremely rough jolt from a strap that is more rigid.
That kind of action could result in damage not only to the strap, but to one or both vehicles as well. The metal hook from a tow strap incorrectly used in recovery effort could also become a dangerous projectile for either vehicle and the surrounding area.
Additional Safety Tips
It is worth repeating to make sure to use a strap that is appropriate to the situation you walk into. Nothing can make you safer than using the right equipment correctly.
You should also check the status of straps before use, particularly for any sign of wear and tear. This is especially important in the case of recovery straps, as any fraying is extra dangerous in equipment designed to stretch.
To help reduce this from happening when not in use, store recovery straps away from sunlight and heat. Clean them with water and avoid using chemicals when they are being washed.
Figure out beforehand the strength that you will need in straps you use. Determining the width and ply before pulling or towing another vehicle can help ensure that your equipment will not fail on the job and keep everyone involved safer.