A Beginner's Guide To Winches
There are few off-roading tools as useful as the winch. This relatively simple device is one of the best ways to get yourself or a mudding buddy out of a jam. Unfortunately, the power and capability of the winch is one of the reasons that it can also be incredibly dangerous. Used improperly, a winch can damage your vehicle or the vehicle you are pulling and even cause serious injury. Even when used properly, a winch can still potentially cause harm in the event of an unexpected failure. For this reason, it is important to understand how to use these versatile tools and which safety precautions to take before doing so.
The Basics of Winching
Winches vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it is important to consult your manual for the details of operating your particular winch. For any winch, however, there are some basic rules that must be followed:
- Never tie your winch to small objects which can easily move or break
- Avoid tying your winch to trees unless you are using a tree saver, as the winch will inevitably damage or kill the tree
- Always operate your winch with the remote from inside your vehicle
- Never operate your winch if anyone is standing nearby
- Never adjust or move near the winch line once tension is applied; always release the tension first by spooling out more of the line
- Drape a heavy blanket or other heavy object over the winch before winching to help absorb some of the force if it comes loose
It is incredibly important to follow these basic steps to protect both your safety and the safety of those around you.
Knowing When to Winch
Winches serve two primary purposes: to pull your vehicle out of a stuck situation or to assist another vehicle that is stuck. They can also be used as a safety device under certain conditions, such as when attempting to avoid a dangerous ditch or drop-off. In general, you can use your winch to pull yourself clear of an obstacle anytime a solid object is available to hook the winch line to. When doing so, remember the follow the above basics to protect yourself, your vehicle, and the environment.
Knowing when to use your winch to help recover another stranded off-roader can be trickier. Winches work well in these circumstances, but the situation can be more difficult since your vehicle is now the anchor. In this case, follow the above safety precautions and be sure to orient your vehicle so the winch line is as straight as possible. Winching at a large angle can be dangerous and significantly less effective. While winching, remain in your vehicle with the brake applied – do not rely on the transmission's parking pawl.
Winches are perhaps the most important tool in your kit for off-road recovery, but they require care and consideration to use properly. Follow all of the instructions in your user's manual along with the above tips and you will have no trouble making use of these important devices on your next off-roading adventure. When you need help getting out of trouble, call companies like R & R Towing.