Again according to Smith, Mac's always recommends that a car be pulled forward and back, with a slight bias toward the outside corners. This is done for several reasons. The inherent strength of a strap is in a straight line. Mac's straps are tested in a straight line and this is how they are rated. Pulling straight back with two straps that each have a safe working load rating of 3,335 pounds, making them ideal for our street rods.

If you cross your straps, that strength is hampered; also, if something goes wrong with one, the other will tend to pull the car to that side of the trailer.

A well-made axle strap will have a full-length, thick protective sleeve to prevent wear. But even the best protection will eventually wear out over burs and hard corners. If you can't route your straps away from these hazards, you can get some extra wear by raduising those corners and keeping everything clean and smooth.

Watch your routing for hazards like brake lines; you may not be able to crush it with the ratchet alone, but stomping on the brakes generates forces more than an order of magnitude greater.

Lay out your strap and open the ratchet to 180 degrees to release it. Pull the majority of the slack out of the assembly by pulling the end through the mandrel (slotted cylinder). The idea is to have less than seven rotations of the mandrel, thereby preventing an unmanageably large wad of webbing rolled up.

While you don't want too many rotations of the mandrel you can also get too few. You are looking for full two rotations of that mandrel. With any less, the strap can be very tight initially, but it's only a friction fit at that point and will loosen over time. At two rotations, the mechanical advantage becomes so great that the webbing cannot slip by itself, making a true lock that will not pay out with vibration. Almost all instances of loosening straps are traceable to too few wraps around the mandrel.

How to avoid one classic tie-down effort: the crossed straps. We must confess this is a mistake yours truly is guilty of and now very embarrassed. Smith pointed out why this isn't a recommended method for tying down your load. He told us, "Crossed straps are likely to wear on each other right where they cross, causing a shorter service life, and a potential failure point. If you lose one crossed strap, the natural tendency is for the other to pull the vehicle over to its side of the trailer."

He also pointed out that most accidents are from the front or rear, meaning that you will most likely need the full strength rating in those directions. All Mac's straps are designed and tested for linear tension (pulling diagonally reduces the tension and that reduction is magnified as the angle becomes greater).

The theory does something like: If your straps pull forward and rearward, with slight bias out to the corners, the car is held suspended between four points. If you lose one strap, it should not move much at all, since the remaining straps are keeping it suspended.

That excess webbing you have pulled through makes a mess of things, and flaps in the wind on an open trailer. Use a strap wrap to keep the assembly clean and tidy, extend the life of the strap and prevent damage from flapping webbing. Then when you are finished towing, wrap the straps up well, using the same wrap to keep the strap in a solid roll when not in use. It takes a moment more to do, but it will extend the life of your straps.

In the pre-planning stages here is another tip from Mac's. Put the car on the trailer before you need to leave, and tie it down. The most common accidents are front and rear impacts, so it makes sense to prepare for those specifically. If you can see something that needs adjusting, now's the time.

We have all heard the expression: "If it is too good to be true then it isn't!" the same applies to securing your street rod to your trailer: If it doesn't look like it will work, it probably won't.