Winching, snatching, pulling and jacking all involve a substantial weight with phenomenal forces. If and when this weight moves intentionally or unintentionally, things can happen very quickly. The maintenance and correct usage of your winching gear will reduce the possibility of injury or damage to the vehicle. Above all, never under estimate the carnage that can be caused by equipment failure or improper operation. Shown and used with the proper respect winch gear can be one of your greatest allies.
Every day you intend to use the winch, a visual observation of the rope or cable should be made. These visual observations should be focussed on discovering damage that may be an immediate hazard
, such as the following:
- Distortion such as crushing, kinking, un-stranding, main strand displacement, bird caging or core protrusion (cable only)
- Corrosion (cable only)
- Broken or cut strands
Monthly, during use you should inspect the wire cable or rope for:
- Reduction of rope diameter below nominal diameter as a result of loss of core support, internal or external corrosion, or wear of outside stands
- A number of broken outside strands and the degree of distribution or concentration of such broken strands
- Worn outside strands
- Corroded or broken strands at end connections and splices
- Corroded, cracked, bent, worn, or improperly applied end connections
- Severe kinking, crushing, cutting, or un-stranding
- Heat damage to the cable or rope and fittings
- Any other damage which may cause failure
Most four wheel drive clubs offer driver training
, which includes the use of winches in vehicle recovery. Club training is recommended as an essential starting point.
All good things take time and a safe successful recovery should be no different. Assess the situation, make the vehicle safe, keep onlookers at a safe distance, use the correct gear, and inspect it all before putting it into service, discuss the recovery with all who will be involved and reassess as required during the recovery. Remember your recovery will only be as good as the weakest link.
Of all the winch types available most are front mounted on the four wheel drive, the reason being that it is an aide to get you where you want to be and that is mostly going forward. Of course unplanned predicaments can mean that a winch on the back or side of the vehicle would be handy but usually not practical. With the right winch set up and gear you will be able to recover your vehicle and others as necessary from most situations.
Driving while Winching
This is for the experienced and competition drivers. In most cases winching out of trouble and then driving is the better option as doing both together causes a no load / load shock to the winch and winch cable. This can cause damage to both rendering them unserviceable. Not only your gear can be damaged but also the track. If you have fitted a suitable winch let the winch do the work.