Do you know how to safely recover your truck and how to avoid it all going horribly wrong.
Half the fun of owning a 4×4 is negotiating obstacles, how do I get in/over and can I get out/off?
Man and machine against nature, and lets face it the machine might be capable but are you? Some of us have years of experience and make it look so easy, but everyone started as a novice once and if that’s you then consider joining a local club where there is a wealth of experience to tap into, to be honest do we ever stop learning. We look at the basics for recovery.
Every situation is different dependent on the terrain, position and vehicle, each time needs to be assessed accordingly by checking and removing any debris that could hinder a recovery. If there is even a small chance of getting stuck on your route ahead then before you start, pull your winch lose or fit a strap and stick the end of it in the front window or fix it high so it’s easy to access in time of need.
If you’re stuck in soft terrain like mud or sand then consider which way do you recover front or back, if another vehicle has gone through then maybe forwards but if the terrain is untouched and unproven then probably backwards.
Rocks, ruts and hard terrain would benefit from a lower pressure in the tyre to spread the grip, consider building a track with smaller rocks or wood. This is where traction mats or waffle boards come into their own field.
When using a winch for recover ensure there is a secure anchor to fix to, last thing you need is to pull a tree or rock into your path or worse onto the truck or you and never step over a live winch cable. If you have earmarked a tree as an anchor point then use a tree protector, this is usually a nice wide strap the goes around the tree to which you then attach the winch cable, this means you’re not strangling or scoring the trunk.
When buying a snatch strap or recovery strap, check the label to confirm the recommended weight for that strap is relevant to the weight of your vehicle and don’t forget loads or trailers need to be included in this calculation.
Labels should also confirm the straps life expectancy stated in number of uses (6-8 times) as opposed to years.
Before you invest in your straps ensure the car has rated recovery points front and rear. A tow ball is not a recovery point. A common confusion are tie down points on vehicles, these are not rated recovery points and can lead to damage if used, check before you hook up. The golden rule is know your vehicle.
Try to spend as much as you can reasonably afford on this gear, when a snatch strap snaps under strain it can have a pretty nasty and speedy recoil, if the recovery point is still attached to the end of a recoiling strap you have a very affective weapon which is why everybody needs to stand well clear. Cable dampers are designed to reduce this by creating a weight in the middle of the cable to pull it down if it becomes airborne.
Always wash your straps after use to ensure they’re fit to work again and not chaffed or damaged.
If your using a winch work in short 20 second bursts to prevent an electrical burn out unless you have a competition double motor winch. Like all equipment a winch would benefit from a yearly maintenance check whether you’ve used it or not there is a good chance it will have got wet and muddy over the year.
Common sense with safe and knowledgeable methods of operation will ensure everyone gets home at the end of the day with no damage or injuries. Don’t fall into the top recovery mistakes category.
All that said, get out there and have some fun …