how to use tow strap and shackles

how to use tow strap and shackles

A tow strap and shackle are essential tools in any driver’s arsenal. They are used for many purposes, from helping to tow a vehicle out of a ditch to recovering a stuck vehicle from a muddy bog. The tow strap is a long, heavy-duty strap with a looped end, while the shackle is a metal link with a threaded pin. Here is a guide to using a tow strap and shackle.

Safety First

Before attempting to use a tow strap and shackle, always take safety precautions. Wear protective gloves, long sleeves, and close-toed shoes. Check the straps and shackles for any visible wear or damage, and make sure the hitch on the vehicle being towed is in good condition. Check the tow vehicle to ensure it is in good working order and can properly handle the weight of the towed vehicle. Also make sure that both vehicles’ emergency akes are engaged.

Linking the Strap and Shackle

Take one end of the tow strap and loop it through the shackle, then thread the other end of the strap through the loop. Pull the two ends tight and adjust the strap so that all of the slack is taken out. Make sure the strap and the shackle are lying on the same plane, and then attach the shackle to the trailer hitch of the vehicle being towed.

Attaching the Strap

The next step is to attach the tow strap to the vehicle doing the towing. Use a large binder clip or some other clip to attach the end of the strap to the tow hitch. Make sure the strap is securely fastened and will not come loose during towing. An alternative is to use a chain with a locking system that prevents the chain from being disconnected.

Anchoring the Towing Vehicle

For safety, it is important to make sure that the vehicle doing the towing is anchored properly. It’s best to attach the trailer hitch to a tree or post that is securely anchored to the ground. This will prevent the towing vehicle from jerking forward and eaking the shackle. Make sure that any anchor used is compatible with the weight of the vehicle and towing load.

Towing Properly

Once the tow strap and shackle are attached, it’s time to begin towing. Make sure both vehicles are running and in neutral, and slowly move forward. Put pressure on the car being towed only when necessary and slowly increase the speed as needed. It’s important to move as slowly as possible to make sure the tow strap and shackle do not get stretched or distorted.

Disconnecting the Strap and Shackle

When you have reached the destination, it’s time to disconnect the tow strap and shackle. Start by pulling the tow vehicle away from the vehicle being towed. Slowly release the tension on the strap and shackle until the two are completely disconnected. Make sure both vehicles are in park and the emergency akes are engaged.


Towing a vehicle can be a dangerous undertaking, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions. Using a tow strap and shackle is a safe and effective way to tow a vehicle, but proper use is essential. Taking the time to make sure the strap and shackle are properly attached and that both tow vehicle and load are properly anchored will ensure a successful towing experience.

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