How Tie-down Hangers Work


There's no doubt that the driver of this trailer could benefit from tie down hangers -- that's a lot of tie down straps.
There's no doubt that the driver of this trailer could benefit from tie down hangers -- that's a lot of tie down straps.
Joshua Carpenter/iStockphoto

Anyone who owns or uses a trailer knows the way it typically works out. You have a load to carry, and you need a way to keep it safely in place for the journey ahead. Of course, you already have plenty of ways to secure your cargo -- it's all in that big plastic bin full of tow straps, bungee cords, hooks, rubber straps and other towing equipment. But what you're looking for this time is the half-dozen or so ratcheting tie-downs you purchased just for this occasion. As you open the bin, you see a mass of rope, rubber and nylon that resembles a bowl of spaghetti. You haven't seen anything this tangled since the last time you looked for the Christmas lights in your attic.

With any luck, you can find the end of at least one of the straps and begin to unravel the twisted mess, but one thing's for sure: It's going to take you a while. What a waste of time. As you near the end of your untangling, unknotting task, you realize that there must be some way to keep your tie-downs organized -- but how?

Tie-down hangers may be the answer. Tow strap tie-down hangers are an excellent way to keep various tie-downs out of the way when they're not in use. When tie-down hangers are used properly, they can keep tie-down straps well organized, untangled and tightly secured against the wall of your trailer, garage or wherever they're installed.

Tie-down hangers have a rather simple design. Most closely resemble a very small towel rack. Other designs look more like a piece of angle iron -- a flat piece of metal bent to form a 90 degree angle -- with holes drilled at measured intervals. Both designs are very effective, and they come in a variety of lengths to match your installation needs.

Now that you've decided that tie-down hangers are likely the best way to get rid of your spaghettilike pile of straps, a few questions remain. Where can you purchase a set of tie-down hangers, and once you have them in hand, how will you install them? Read the next page to find out.

Installing Tie-down Hangers

Tie down hangers keep your tie downs organized and out of the way when they're not in use.
Tie down hangers keep your tie downs organized and out of the way when they're not in use.

Tie-down hangers are typically installed in pairs -- positioned one above the other -- and are used to keep the slack out of a tie-down strap when it's not in use. One end of the tie-down strap attaches at the high hanger, and the other end attaches at the low hanger. If you're attaching a ratcheting strap to the hangers, the ratchet mechanism is used to remove the slack in the tie-down. If you're using the tie-down hangers for rubber strap storage, the hangers should be installed just far enough apart that the straps have a little bit of tension on them at all times -- but not too far; you don't want to permanently stretch your straps.

Hanger installation is really quite simple; the tie-down hangers can be bolted to walls of the trailer using the hardware provided by the manufacturer. Just follow the instructions provided with the tie-down hanger kit, and you shouldn't have a problem. You'll need a drill to create holes for the bolts (or at least pilot holes for the fasteners) and a ratchet set to secure the hardware once everything is in place. That's just about it. Pretty simple, huh? The instructions will let you know if any other tools are required.

Most people position the hangers so the straps will be stored in a vertical position, but you can also position them so the straps will hang horizontally. Both designs work in either position; however, the hanger design that resembles a towel rack works best when the straps will be in a vertical position, as the hooks at the end of the straps can slide down the hanger rod. The other design -- the one that looks similar to angle iron with holes -- will work either vertically or horizontally. This is a handy little tip to know if you don't have the vertical space to spare in your trailer for the installation of tie-down hangers.

Similar to most other towing equipment, you can find tie-down hangers by searching online. Of course, you also have the option of calling or visiting your local trailer supply store. If they don't have tie-down hangers, they'll most likely be able to tell you where you can find them. As we mentioned earlier, tie-down hangers come in a few designs and several lengths, so you'll want to make sure you've done all of your planning and measuring ahead of time. That way you'll know exactly what you're looking for when you discover the wide range of choices available to you.

To read more about towing equipment, towing accessories and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links

Sources

  • Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies. "Pit Pal Multiple Tie-down Hanger." (Sept. 29, 2008) http://www.pegasusautoracing.com/productdetails.asp?RecID=2510
  • Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies. "Pit Pal Tie-down Hanger, Single." (Sept. 29, 2008) http://www.pegasusautoracing.com/productdetails.asp?RecID=5964
  • Pit Pal Products. "Hangers: Tie-down Hangers Pair." (Sept. 29, 2008) http://www.pitpal.com/products/Tie_Down_Hangers_Pair-940-0.html
  • 823 Racing Accessories. "Aluminum Tie-down Hangers." (Sept. 29, 2008) http://www.823racingaccessories.com/TieDownHangers.html
  • PitPosse.com. "Sr. Tie-down Hanger." (Sept. 29, 2008) http://www.pitposse.com/srtiedoha.html