How to Use Chain Binders

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Things You'll Need

  • Chain

  • Chain binders

  • 3-foot length of 2-inch steel pipe

  • 1 foot of 14-gauge steel wire


Chains and binders are sized to go with each other. Use 1/4-inch chain only with a binder with hooks designed for 1/4-inch chain.

Once the load is bound tightly, drive a short distance and check the tightness of the binder and chains. A few road bumps or sharp corners can shift the load enough to allow the binders to come loose.


Most small loads on utility trailers require at least two sets of chains and binders to secure the load properly. On larger loads with larger trailers, Department of Transportation regulations should be followed; these regulations dictate the size of chain, strength of chain and numbers of chains and binders required.

Whether you are an over-the-road driver hauling tons of equipment across the country or transporting your lawn tractor across town on a utility trailer, it's important to have the load fastened down securely. Nylon strap tie-downs can suffice, but nothing anchors a load better than chains pulled tight using chain binders. Chains and binders come in various sizes depending on the loads being hauled. Regardless of size, installing the chains and operating the binders is identical with all sizes.

Attaching the Chain

Step 1

Locate the best places on the trailer to attach the chain. Some trailers have built-in rings or other chain attachment points. On others, the chain will need to be connected to the frame or other metal parts of the trailer.

Step 2

Load the trailer with whatever you are hauling.

Step 3

Locate the best places to attach or position the chain to secure the load. Don't drape it over fenders or other sheet metal components. Loop it over the heaviest framework you can access. Motor mounts, axles, draw bars and hitch supports are examples of suitable locations.

Step 4

Attach the chain to the trailer and to or over the load, using the hooks on the ends of the chains to adjust the chain as tight as possible.

Binding the Load

Step 1

Open the binder to its extended position.

Step 2

Hook the end of the binder nearest the handle lever to a link of the chain near the equipment being secured.

Step 3

Hook the opposite end of the binder by hand to the same chain as tightly as possible.

Step 4

Pull the lever handle on the binder to tighten the chain.

Step 5

Adjust as needed to get the chain tight. If the chain is still loose after levering the binder, reposition the binder's attachment to make it tighter and try again. If the binder is so tight you are unable to pull the lever all the way, loosen the attachment point a link or two and try again.

Step 6

Use a 3-foot length of 2-inch steel pipe as a cheater, if necessary, by sliding the pipe over the binder's handle lever and using the extra length to enable levering the handle completely to the closed position.

Step 7

Wrap 14-gauge steel around the chain and through the hole in the binder handle then twist the wire ends together to ensure the handle doesn't pop open from vibration or when the trailer hits bumps in the road.


Mike Schoonveld

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.