Four Wheel Drive Concepts
Offroad Driving Techniques
Vehicle Recovery Techniques
   Snatch Ropes
   Chains and Cables
   High Lift Jacks
   Pulley Blocks
Vehicle Recovery Techniques

Winches are very powerful machines and are designed to move loads such as boats, fallen trees and vehicles. They are an invaluable recovery tool as, when treated knowledgably and with respect and caution, they allow for efficient vehicle recovery.
Winching a vehicle
Winches are usually very slow and precise. When the end of the winch cable is securely anchored, they operate by winding the winch cable onto a drum and thereby pulling the vehicle or the load, depending on circumstance. The versatility of winches is further increased when used in conjunction with pulley blocks, which can double a winch's pulling power.
Important Safety Information
DANGER! Serious injury or death can occur!
  • ALWAYS USE EXTREME CAUTION AND STAND CLEAR when using winches. If the winch cable breaks, the winch clutch becomes disengaged or towing fixtures tear loose, the cable will snap and whip wildly. Never step over a "live" winch cable (a winch cable bearing a load) and don't allow anyone else to do so.
    WARNING! May cause serious injury or death!
  • NEVER ATTACH A WINCH CABLE TO A VEHICLE'S BUMBER. Bumpers are not designed to withstand the stresses a winch produces. Use the vehicle's tow or recovery points.
    WARNING! May cause serious injury or death!
  • ENSURE THERE ARE AT LEAST 5 COMPLETE TURNS OF WINCH CABLE REMAINING ON THE DRUM. The rope fastener will not support a load with less than 5 turns still on the winch drum.
    CAUTION! Beware of unsafe practice!
  • Always use shackles to hitch your winch cable. NEVER HOOK THE WINCH CABLE BACK ONTO ITSELF. This creates unacceptable strain, breaking individual strands which weakens the entire winch cable.
    CAUTION! Beware of unsafe practice!
  • LEARN TO USE YOUR WINCH. Take the time and practice using your winch so you will be familiar with it when the need arises.
    Guidelines for Safe Winch Operation
    As with any vehicle recovery procedure, there are rules for the safe operation of a winch that must be adhered to in order to minimize the risk of vehicle damage and personal injury.
    Safe Winching Practices
    As shown in the image above, opening the hood of the winching vehicle can minimize risk of property damage and personal injury, should the winch cable snap and whip back under load. Another recommendation is to lay a blanket over the winch cable. If the winch cable were to snap, the blanket will dampen much of the energy of the cable, and further reduce the risk of damage and injury.
    1. Inspect the winch cable and equipment frequently. The wire winch cable should be inspected for damage that can reduce its breaking strength. A frayed cable with broken strands must be replaced immediately. Note that any replacement must be identical in strength, quality, lay and stranding.
    2. Always use Gloves. Always wear gloves when handling or rewinding the winch cable to eliminate the possibility of cuts or other injury caused by burrs and slivers from broken strands!
    3. Avoid continuous pulls from extreme angles. Winching from extreme angles causes the winch cable to pile up at one side of the drum, causing the winch cable to snag and "cut" into itself, flattening and breaking strands and further weakening the winch cable. Always aim to get the winch cable as straight as possible from the direction of the vehicle.