DEARBORN, MI – Picking the family Christmas tree is an annual tradition for many.
But transporting it can also be dangerous and expensive if not done correctly. AAA Michigan sent out several tips Monday to help get the job done without a headache.
“Nothing will make you say ‘bah bullshit’ faster than losing the tree you just bought on the way home,” Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. âIf not properly secured, a tree can damage your vehicle or worse, fly off and become a hazard to other drivers. Before you buy your tree, be sure to research the right way to transport it, or have a professional secure it for you.
Almost one in five real Christmas tree buyers said a tree fell or got out of their vehicle while trying to bring it home, according to an AAA study. Additionally, 44% of Americans admit to hauling a tree using unsafe methods:
This includes 20% of people who will tie the tree to the roof of their vehicle without using a roof rack and 24% of people who plan to place the tree in the bed of their unsecured van.
It may seem minor, but losing a Christmas tree can get very expensive. Scratched paint, torn door seals, and warped window frames can cost up to $ 1,500 to repair.
AAA says it’s best to haul the tree over a vehicle with a roof rack, but a pickup, SUV, van, or van can also work. Some tips to follow:
- Come prepared – bring a sturdy rope or nylon ratchet straps, an old blanket and gloves.
- Wrap and cover it – once you have found the perfect tree, ask the lot to wrap it in a net before loading it. Loose branches can also be secured with rope or twine to help protect the tree from damage.
- Protect your vehicle – Before loading the tree, cover the roof with an old blanket to avoid scratching the paint and protect the car from damage.
- Trunk first – place the tree on the roof rack or in the truck body with the tree trunk facing the front of the car. If the vehicle does not have a roof rack and is large enough, place the tree inside.
- Secure it – tie the tree at the bottom, center and top using strong ropes or nylon ratchet straps. Avoid using the nylon offered by many bundles of trees. Use fixed tie-down points for the vehicle and wrap the rope or strap around the trunk of the tree over a branch to prevent sideways or back and forth movement.
- Tug test – once attached, pull hard on the tree from different angles to make sure it is securely in place and will not come loose.
- Nice and easy – drive slowly and take secondary roads if possible. Higher speeds can create a lot of airflow that can damage your tree or defy even the best tie-down methods.