• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Towing on an open trailer. In neutral or in park even though it is strapped down? What say ye?

QUOTE="fullmetaljacket, post: 912404328, member: 4797"]
Made it all the way home to NYC from Detroit. Straps crossed just as I have done for years and no issues. I did ratchet up the rear straps a tiny bit on one of my many check stops just for safe measure.
I also had a huge hard rubber chuck at one of the wheels and it was chained to the trailer just in case it too would loosen up and jump off on one of the many road irregularities on the way.
See, you hit on the major safety point, whether you cross straps, or not. "many check stops" I usually have a good reason to stop and check the straps every hundred miles or so (read "rest stops"), and maybe more often with a car I've never towed before, especially if I have to space up one side of the car to get the door open..... Had to do that recently with my DD.
The problem with crossing them is that if one strap comes loose the other one could pull the car off of the trailer sideways.
Well then it would be damaged like when you tow with your straps in line… Seriously never had that problem in 35 years. I never had one come loose. If you know what you are doing and use quality straps it’s way safer than having your car hop sideways when leaving the straps in line which is very common on a wet deck of trailer with wet straps.. Seen the actual damage too many times verses someone saying a strap came loose when crossed….
If the vehicle rocks back and forth putting it in park and setting the park brake will not save it. I personally don't like tying down with straps unless it's the 18-wheeler flatbed trailer type. Still like my chains and binders.
Made it all the way home to NYC from Detroit. Straps crossed just as I have done for years and no issues. I did ratchet up the rear straps a tiny bit on one of my many check stops just for safe measure.
I also had a huge hard rubber chuck at one of the wheels and it was chained to the trailer just in case it too would loosen up and jump off on one of the many road irregularities on the way.
I am not saying there is an absolute right way , my mate does same as you . I simply looked at how most do and what changes have happened over time , especially looking at tow trucks . My rear loop around tyre then ratchet not just fore/aft but out at an angle . I understand rears are mostly to stop rear hopping around on bumps . I can use these rears he cant due to space/access so he cross straps . BUT he does want the same front as mine fitted , quick and easy plus have built in chocks that lock to trailer floor .

Not necessarily. The strap could fail as could one of the mounting point.
If it weren't for my limited time, I would have bought two extra straps and strapped it in a straight line both front and back along with the cross straps, but I needed to get home. That said, here's another bombshell......I tow at a decent speed 55-60 mph at most. Things happen really fast when an extra tail is overwhelmed by too much speed. Some of my Boyz actually tow at 75-90 mph believe it or not. Sick.....Obviously they don't love their cars as much as I do mine.
The vast majority of my towing is done in california, where the speed limit for towing vehicles, or trucks with three axles or more, is 55mph. (Highway car speed limit, 70 mph.)
Of course, NOBODY making a living driving a truck does 55. I tend to set my cruise control to the same speed as the majority of semi's, around 63. I actually find the reduction in speed relaxing.
Saw this picture in FB ad tonight. Florida.

Last edited:
I've towed on an open trailer here and there over the years and wondered if any of you are concerned with the transmission being in park gear or neutral.
As you all know so well, even though the four straps keep the car stable somewhat, the car still rocks back and forth and I was thinking perhaps that's not so good for the park gear? I could be wrong.
By the way, I am towing this weekend interstate and wanted to see what y'all think.
There would be a lot less possibility Of tranny problems with it in neutral 4 good straps and block the tires the end
People will and can do what they like, crossing straps or diagonal strapping prevents side to side movement of the vehicle or load. It's my preference to have ratchets on the driver side for watching them and easier to tighten or adjust periodically depending on the distance and terrain.
People will argue these things till the end of time.

I would strongly recommend in gear and parking brake applied if both are available, blocking and bracing is not a bad idea earthier. When it arrives at its destination and its long forgotten that the vehicle is in neutral the straps or chains are then released and there is a possibility of a someone or something being crushed.

I'm not an expert, just currently at 19 years on active duty in the Marine Corps as a 3537.
For what its worth story. A few years ago I won at Norwalk on a Sunday. Pretty desolate there late on a Sunday. I'm beat, it's 90 degrees +, and of course by myself. Pop-up camper on the truck, easy up tent, cooking grill, table, chairs, racecar, scooter, tools, etc. to stow away. An hour and 15 minutes later down the road I go. Getting into Toledo and start thinking. Did I tie the front of the car down? There is a rest stop about 5 miles into Michigan. Ah but Michigan roads are like a goat path. I pulled over soon as there was a spot just out of Toledo. Sure enough no front straps. Rears were on and crossed. Car was in park. Hadn't moved an inch in 70 miles.
I know we're talking about cars here and they are just about always tied down with 4 points as many times it would impossible to use center tie downs but i beleive thats where the cross chaining comes from. If a DOT cop really wanted to give you a hard time they need to be tied down at the ends and on both sides every 10' ( 6 points anything over 10',8 points at 20',ect)'. When hauling a machine that articulates in the center like a wheel loader you would tie the four corners down straight and than cross chain the center. If a end chain breakes with articulating equipment things get real interesting quick. I think some have adpted the cross chaining to a 4 point tie down and that's not awesome as the video shows. If there was any possible cross chaining the center is the best way to go even if the equipment isn't articulating, it will stop the side shifting and more importantly keep your stuff on the trailer during and accident .
Last edited:
There's a lot of contrasting opinions here, and a simple answer to both sides. Straight strap....and cross strap. I sure don't see anything wrong with using eight straps. Heck, I don't think whichever second set used has to be 2", 1.5 should be plenty.
I personally believe in straight straps..... but i have a bunch of 1.5 laying around. Might as well use em.
Last edited:
Ive always tow with the loaded vehicle in park ( or gear on manual trans ) And always crossed the straps. Always use the double wrapped axle straps on both ends

last trailer I had . I had boards screwed to the deck to give the car a bump stop so to speak . Works like a charm to help prevent it moving forward at all

I plan to haul mine across country next fall and that is how I will tie it down. Im thinking may buy a set of the bolt on tie downs for the rear axle U bolts to give it a secure attaching point for the hook with no worries the axle / differential cuts a strap over time / distance

Like so

Auto Transport Service