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What Is Minimum Breaking Strength?

Beyond Breaking Point - Understanding Minimum Breaking Strength

By: Dawnerz


Time to read 7 min

Have you ever wandered how a synthetic tow strap doesn't snap under huge pressure? What keeps it from breaking while supporting heavy vehicles? Well, to put it simply, It all comes down to the minimum breaking strength. This is a key element in making sure tow straps are safe and work well in different situations and under a variety of different loads.

However, many people misunderstand the actual meaning of minimum breaking strength, so in this article we’ll dive deep and try to explain in more detail the true meaning of the minimum breaking strength, or MBS as its known within the towing and recovery industry

The Importance of Tow Straps

Tow straps are often overlooked by many drivers. However, the uses and benefits that they can bring are invaluable. Just focusing on the cost benefits alone should be enough for most drivers to appreciate their benefits and always have one on hand, ready to jump in and perform. 

From cars, SUVs, to Big Rigs and Industrial Machinery, tow straps can handle any job!

Of course, all of this is only relevant if they are used safely, and in the designed manner. If not, they can become dangerous and cause damage to vehicles and injury to personnel operating them

Potential Dangers Of Tow Straps If Used Incorrectly

Using tow straps the wrong way can be very risky. This can lead to different dangerous situations. Some of these issues include the following:

Strap Failure

Pushing a tow strap beyond its limits or using it incorrectly can lead to a break. This can cause serious accidents and injuries to people nearby.

Vehicle Damage

Attaching a tow strap the wrong way or not lining up the vehicles properly can damage them. You might end up with dents, scratches, or even more severe damage

Potential Injuries

Mishandling a tow strap can lead to injuries for you or anyone around. If used incorrectly, the strap could snap back, come loose unexpectedly, or hit someone.

What Is the Minimum Breaking Strength

Minimum breaking strength (MBS) refers to the maximum amount of force a material can withstand before it breaks completely under a straight pull. It's basically the point where the material gives way under tension.

There are other terms used for the minimum breaking strength, such as:

  • Minimum Breaking Load (MBL)

  • Breaking Strength

Why is Minimum Breaking Strength Important?

Knowing the minimum breaking strength of a material is crucial for safety, especially when it comes to things like tow straps!

Its vital that you ensure you have a product that is strong enough to pull your vehicle in a variety of environments without it failing.

Failing to understand the minimum break strength will almost certainly lead to accidents, damage, injury, the strap failing, or potentially all of these!

How do they Figure Out Minimum Breaking Strength?

They don't just guess! MBS is measured in controlled lab tests. A machine steadily increases the force on a material until it breaks. The recorded force at the point of breaking is the minimum breaking strength. 

It's important to note that they take the lowest value from several tests, just to be safe and account for any variations in how the material was made.

Polyester Tow Strap with an 150,000 lb MBS Tag

Don't Push Your Tow Strap to the Limit - It's a One-Shot Deal

Many people believe a tow strap's job is to endure constant punishment at its maximum capacity. This couldn't be further from the truth! The minimum breaking strength (MBS) of a tow strap is exactly that! The maximum force it can withstand in a single instance before breaking.

Here's The Danger!

Let's say you have a 90,000 lbs minimum breaking strength tow strap and use it to pull a hefty 80,000-pound vehicle. While you might be successful, the victory comes at a cost. Even though the strap might look okay, internally, the fibers will have been stretched close to their limit.

This invisible damage significantly weakens the strap, potentially reducing its MBS! Your next attempt at an 80,000-pound pull becomes a gamble, with a much higher chance of failure.

Tow straps, unlike lifting slings, rarely have a designated working load limit (WLL). Calculating the exact force needed to pull a vehicle is nearly impossible. Factors like weather, terrain, mud depth, incline, flat tires, and even locked brakes all play a role.

This means the responsibility falls on you, the user, to choose a strap with enough excess minimum breaking strength to handle the unexpected.

Remember, a tow strap is a lifesaver, but only if it's used responsibly!

Choosing the Right Tow Strap - More Than Just Strength

Selecting a tow strap isn’t as simple as identifying a suitable minimum break strength. To ensure safe and efficient towing practices, there are several factors that you need to consider. Of course, a suitable minimum breaking strength is vital, but also think about the straps material, its length, does it have hooks, or loop eyes?

Let’s take a quick look at each of these points

Finding the Right Length - 20ft vs. 30ft

The length of the strap is crucial, opting for a 20 ft tow strap is the preferred solution if you’re towing on public roads, even and flat surfaces where additional control and maneuverability are required.

However, if you’re off the beaten track, on rough terrain, in large open spaces such as forestry land, agricultural fields, a 30 ft tow strap will likely be beneficial. Not just the additional length to actually reach a vehicle, but also allowing the possibility to double the strap for additional strength.

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If so, why not share it with fellow drivers who might benefit from this knowledge!

Picking the Best Material - Polyester Takes the Lead

The material plays a role too, polyester is strong, durable, resistant to abrasions, UV light and has very little stretch. This is a huge benefit with traditional towing practices, offering stability, control and a much smoother towing experience. Polyester can match steel chains in terms of break strength, and is much safer if you experience failure during your tow! Would you rather have a synthetic tow strap snap, or a large steel chain flying at your windscreen?

Prioritizing Safety with a Safety Factor

Safety should always be your top priority when choosing a tow strap. Although most tow straps dont come with a designated safety factor, you must always choose a MBS that is much higher than the weight of the vehicles you are pulling. This ensures the strap has additional strength in reserve to handle unexpected situations or challenging terrains.

Remember: When selecting a tow strap, consider length, material, and a safety factor. By prioritizing these aspects, you'll be well-equipped to choose the perfect tow strap for safe and efficient recoveries.

Dawnerz Tow Strap with Steel Shackle
Dawnerz - How To Use Tow Straps - A Beginners Guide

Safe Towing: A Guide to Using Tow Straps Safely

Tow straps are lifesavers when you need to pull a stuck vehicle. However, prioritizing safety is paramount. Here are some essential steps to ensure a safe and successful tow:

Pre-Tow Inspection: Before every use, thoroughly inspect your tow strap for any signs of weakness or damage. Look for cuts, fraying, or wear and tear. A knotted strap is strictly forbidden.

Matching Strength to Need: Choose the right strap for the job. The strap's breaking strength, which you can find on the label, must be significantly higher than the weight of the vehicle you'll be towing. Remember, a damaged strap or one used beyond its capacity can lead to accidents.

Following Instructions: Always adhere to the manufacturer's safety instructions. This includes heeding the maximum weight capacity of the strap.

Secure Connections: Proper attachment is crucial. Use the designated tow points on each vehicle, typically located on the bumper or frame. These points are designed to handle the pulling forces involved in towing. Improper attachment points can lead to the strap coming loose and causing damage.

Gentle Does It: Avoid jerking or pulling abruptly. Ease into the towing process and maintain a steady, controlled pace. This helps prevent damage to both vehicles.

Maintaining a Safe Distance: Keep bystanders at a safe distance from the towing operation. Ensure there's ample space for observers to watch without being in the line of fire in case something goes wrong.

Communication is Key: Establish a clear communication method with the driver of the disabled vehicle. Hand signals or a two-way radio can help you both coordinate your actions for a smooth tow.

Monitor the Strap: Keep a watchful eye on the tow strap throughout the process. If you notice any signs of wear or damage, stop immediately and inspect the strap closely.

Proper Storage: Once you've finished using the tow strap, store it properly in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. This will help to prolong its lifespan and ensure it's ready for the next time you need it.

By following these simple yet crucial safety tips, you can maximize the lifespan of your tow straps and, more importantly, ensure everyone's safety during a towing operation.

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Don't Get Snagged by the Unknown - Choose the Right Tow Strap

Understanding Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) is crucial when selecting a tow strap. It's not about finding the strongest strap you can lift – it's about matching the strap's capability to the weight of the vehicle you'll be pulling. Using a tow strap beyond its minimum breaking strength is a recipe for disaster, potentially leading to strap failure, vehicle damage, and even injuries.

By prioritizing minimum breaking strength and choosing the right strap for the job, you're not just saving yourself frustration, you're ensuring a safe and efficient recovery. Remember, safety always comes first!

Do you have any questions? Or need advice about selecting the perfect tow strap? Don't hesitate to contact us – we're always happy to help! 

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