Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions about tie downs, tie-down product and tie-down procedures. If you have a specific question, please call us at 800-666-1586.
Should I cross my straps when securing my vehicle?
The idea behind crossing the straps is well founded: to prevent the car from migrating sideways. At Mac’s, we don’t recommend crossing straps for three reasons:
- If the straps are crossed, they are continually trying to move together. That migration is often stopped by something that’s never friendly to the strap itself. Typically it’s a bracket that isn’t smooth and could cut the webbing.
- If one of the crossed straps loosens, the other strap is then trying to pull the vehicle sideways.
- This has more to do with the straps at the rear of the vehicle. In the event of a sudden stop, the crossed straps have to straighten up a bit before they can do their job. The more extreme the “X” the more they have to straighten up before stopping the vehicle from rolling forward.
Watch why Mac's doesn't recommend crossing straps
How to figure out the correct tie down Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) for my vehicle?
We come across situations where the Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) of the tie down strap is not strong enough to keep the static weight of the vehicle in place. With a static weight of 3,000-pounds, one might assume that a 5,000-pound capacity tie-down strap would suffice. This is a common misconception. As a rule, a tie-down strap should be rated for three times the vehicle’s static weight. Therefore, a 3,000-pound vehicle needs a minimum 9,000-pound capacity tie-down strap.
How to strap down a car on a trailer?
Mac’s automotive tie-down straps are the best choice. Each pack includes everything you need for a safe tie-down situation: four tie-down straps with your choice of attachment hardware, length and color, strap wraps to keep your excess webbing neat and tidy and a heavy-duty duffle bag for storage. Mac’s automotive tie-down straps have a 10,000-pound load capacity to handle most 4-wheel cars or trucks.
How do you tie down a motorcycle/dirt bike?
There are a number of light-duty tie-down strap packs that are perfect for securing a motorcycle. Depending on your tie-down situation, you can choose options that include an s-hook or integrated soft loop. You can also choose between a cam or ratchet tensioner style. Mac’s also has a number of motorcycle tie-down accessories including tie-down strap rings, a handlebar tie-down harness and a tire wedge.
How to tie down a UTV/ATV/side-by-side on a trailer?
Mac’s has tie-down options specifically designed to secure your UTV/ATV.
UTV Tire Nets have a 12,000-pound capacity and wrap around the tires, letting the suspension absorb the bumps of the road. They come in three sizes: small, medium and large and support tire sizes from 24x9 to 35x10.
Watch our video about Adjustable UTV Tire Nets
The weight of a UTV demands a more robust tie-down solution than a standard 1” utility strap can offer. The Mac’s UTV Tie-Down Pack provides increased capacity (5,000 pounds) but costs less than an automotive tie-down pack. We’ve integrated our adjustable combo axle strap to make it easier to secure to a-arms or through the wheel.
ATVs can be secured using our standard 1” utility strap offerings or ATV Tire Nets. ATV owners sometimes choose to swap out their OEM tires for larger aftermarket tires. ATV Tire Nets include an adjustable leg, and are specifically designed to fit 24” to 26” diameter tires.
How many ratchet straps do I need?
Most state laws require four tie-down points, one for each corner of the car. That’s why our tie-down packs include four tie-down straps.
What’s the difference between L-track and E-track?
L-Track (VersaTie Track) is much narrower than E-Track or A-Track. Also, when mounted to the floor of a trailer, L-Track has an open center channel and can be cleaned easily.
E-Track or A-Track is much wider than L-Track. It also has a closed center channel. Trash and debris can get into the channel and be difficult to get out. E-Track and A-Track are very similar. All of the fittings are interchangeable between E-Track and A-Track. The rectangular slot on A-Track is knocked out clean while the ears on E-Track are folded over and left in place.
How to hoist an engine?
The Mac’s PiVOT is the easiest way to remove and install a vehicle’s engine and transmission. No more chains, cables, ineffective cranks or firewall interference. The PiVOT mounts easily to most 2 and 4 bbl. carburetor intake manifolds and tilts up to 35 degrees with the turn of the lead screw. With a wide selection of PiVOT Adapter Plates, Mac’s has you covered. There is an adapter plate available for most engines, from a Ford Flathead V8 to the modern-day GM LT4.
Watch our video about the Mac’s PiVOT
What are the different types of anchor points available?
Mac’s has a wide variety of light- and heavy-duty anchor point options. Surface and recessed d-rings range from 900-pound to 10,000-pound capacity. We’ve created a video series explaining the different anchor point options and how they are best utilized.
How to measure for wheel nets?
At Mac’s, wheel nets are built-to-order to fit your specific wheel. We only need two measurements:
- Overall tire height (diameter)
- Overall tire width (sidewall to sidewall, not the tread width)
If your deck d-rings or anchor points are already installed, please also provide the horizontal distance between them. This helps us determine the leg length.
Watch our video about measure for wheel nets
What’s the difference between a wheel net, tire net or tire bonnet?
There is no difference. It’s simply a different name for a tie-down that wraps around the tire and secures to your trailer deck. This keeps the wheels in place and allows the vehicle’s suspension to absorb the bumps of the road.
What if my trailer doesn’t have anchor points installed on the deck?
For trailers with no anchor points, chain extensions are a perfect solution. They route through the trailer’s rub rail, stake pocket and attach directly to the ratchet hook. Chain Extensions are manufactured with Grade 70 transport chain and a forged grab hook. You can purchase Chain Extensions individually, as a 4-pack or can be bundled when you purchase our most popular automotive tie-down packs.
Watch our video about Chain Extensions
How secure are anchor points in a wood deck for vehicle transport?
We do not ever want to depend on wood decking alone for the strength required to transport. Do not drill through the wood deck and expect that to hold for long-term. We suggest using a backer bar that’s welded in between the crossmembers of the trailer. You’re then drilling through the wood, through the backer bar and putting the appropriate hardware on the bottom side of the trailer.
Is it better to attach to the chassis or through the wheel?
Our first choice is attaching to a suspension component. However, low-lying vehicles can make it difficult. In that case, a through-the-wheel application, like the Mac's Pro Pack, will work just fine. Make sure the surface is as clean as possible and that you use the Mac’s fleece sleeve protector for additional padding against the wheel’s finish.
An over-the-tire application like the Mac’s Custom-Fit Tire Nets or Tire Block Straps, are great alternatives. They both avoid having to crawl beneath the vehicle and hold the vehicle down by its tires, eliminating contact with the wheel.
Is an adjustable track system necessary when securing my vehicle?
No. If the trailer is dedicated for hauling a particular vehicle and the vehicle is being secured in the same place each time, a track system is not necessary. An adjustable track system is ideal when the trailer is utilized for multiple tasks, loads, etc. Mac’s offers three types of adjustable track systems including VersaTie Track, E/A-Track and our new HD Tube Track.
Making a decision regarding anchor points or an adjustable track system from the start can avoid turning your trailer bed into “swiss cheese” by having to drill holes and mounting an unnecessary amount of anchor points.
Is there a universal kit for hauling different vehicles/items?
The Mac’s Ultra Pack is our most popular tie-down strap kit. It includes four 10,000-pound ratchet assemblies, four axle straps, four strap wraps and a Mac’s duffle bag for storage. Combined with the Mac’s Chain Extensions (for trailer stake pockets), you’re set for just about anything.
Should I air out a car on airbags when towing?
If your airbag system has a tendency to leak down over a long trip, that could lead to some loosening of the tie-down straps depending on where you have them attached. That would be a reason to let it down. If you’re worried about the finishes of the bottom of the frame rails and/or the trailer floor itself, consider the Mac’s Chassis Stabilizer.
Be cautious not to deflate your air ride system entirely to avoid any clearance or “pinching” issue that may arise. If the system is deflated completely, the suspension could take some abuse in transit due to the fact that there is no effective suspension.
What are the signs of webbing degradation?
There are obvious and not-so-obvious signs of webbing degradation. Look over the webbing entirely. Obvious failure could be along the edges or around the end-fittings. Use a lubricant (i.e. WD-40) on the sprocket on each side of the ratchet mechanism. Re-webbing services are available for all Mac’s branded products for as long as you own the product.
Learn more about inspecting your webbing