tow truck chains and straps

tow truck chains and straps


Towing chains and straps are two essential pieces of equipment for anyone recovering an incapacitated vehicle. Whether you are a professional tow truck operator, or a hobbyist who has a flatbed trailer in their garage, having a suitable tow strap or chain can make all the difference in safely towing a vehicle.

Towing chains are constructed from metal, while tow straps are made of webbing material. Both can be incredibly strong and durable. Choosing the right one for your needs is essential, as the wrong one could result in catastrophic failure of the tow, causing further harm to the vehicle being towed, as well as the towing apparatus itself.

In this article, we will discuss the various types of towing chains and straps available, as well as their different uses and benefits. We'll review the correct way to use tow chains and straps, as well as avoiding any potentially hazardous situations. We'll also discuss the differences between different types of tow chains and straps, as well as their pros and cons.

Types of Towing Chains and Straps

Towing chains are the most commonly used type of towing device. Chains are formed from metal alloy links, and usually comprise a closed-loop design. These are incredibly strong and durable, and can be used to tow a wide range of vehicles and machinery. In terms of load capacity, chains are typically rated between 7,000 and 12,000 pounds. As a result, they are suitable for light-duty loads such as ATVs, boats, and motorcycles, right up to the heaviest of commercial vehicles, such as full-sized SUVs.

Tow straps are made of a material such as webbing, and they are essentially large elastic bands. They are not as strong as chains and should only be used for lighter loads such as ATVs, dirt bikes, and motorcycles. Tow straps also have a lower capacity than chains, ranging from 2,000 to 6,000 pounds.

What to Consider When Buying a Tow Chain or Tow Strap

When it comes to purchasing a tow chain or strap, it’s important to consider not just the strength of the product, but also its compatibility with your towing apparatus. A tow chain that is too long for the hitch or ball may cause dangerous swaying of the tow vehicle, potentially damaging the strap or chain itself.

It’s also important to consider the build quality of the chain or strap. While most are rated as durable heavy-duty products, there is a wide variance in the sturdiness and resilience of the products available. Opt for a chain or strap that is built with high-quality components, and has an easily navigable rating system.

It’s also wise to consider the load limit of the chain before purchase. Always opt for a chain or strap that is rated for a higher weight limit than the one you’ll actually be towing.

How to Use Tow Chains and Straps

When it comes to actually towing a vehicle, there are a few key steps you should follow to ensure the safe and efficient use of towing chains and straps.

Firstly, you should ensure the tow chain or strap is securely fastened to the tow vehicle. It’s best practice to attach a shackle to the chain to ensure it stays in place when towing.

Once the chain or strap is attached, you should also ensure that it is pulled tight, and that no slack is left in it. This can be done using a winch, if you’re using a tow truck. If you’re using a trailer, you should make sure the chain is still properly secured before towing.

You should also be aware of the speed limits for towing. Towing chains and straps are designed to withstand the weight of the tow vehicle, but the speed limit is usually much lower. As a guideline, you should never tow a vehicle at more than 50mph with a tow chain or strap.

Advantages of Towing Chains and Straps

The main advantage of towing chains and straps is their strength. Chains are particularly suitable for heavy-duty loads, as they are rated for higher capacity than straps. This makes them ideal for commercial towing operations, where the vehicle being towed may be ramped up onto a flatbed truck.

Tow straps are more suitable for lighter loads and are far more portable than chains. They are also easier to store, as they are much more compact when not in use.

Choosing the Right Tow Chain or Strap

As we have discussed, choosing a tow chain or strap correctly is essential. As with any product, consider the weight limit, the compatibility of the chain with your towing apparatus, and the safety ratings of the product. As a general guideline, always opt for a more robust chains and straps, as they are not only safer but also more durable.


Towing chains and straps are essential pieces of towing equipment for anyone recovering an incapacitated vehicle. They can be made of either metal or webbing, with varying ratings in terms of weight capacity. They are designed to be used with a range of towing apparatus, from trailers to tow trucks, providing a secure connection between the tow vehicle and the towing vehicle. By following the correct steps for towing, and choosing the right tow chain or strap for the job, you can ensure a safe and successful recovery.

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