snatch strap

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 16:18
ThreadID: 92944 Views:2908 Replies:8 FollowUps:8
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so we're planning a nice little trip to the centre and back. wifey has demanded i'm a bit more prepared this time around.

went out and bought a snatch strap, air compressor and a few other goodies. so in refreshing my memory on proper snatching technique, i'm famaliar with hooks and they go (ie not towball). just wondering though if the need does come to use them, the vehicle doing the snatching, do you pull away until the strap is taught and then accelarate or is it more of sudden jerk movement?
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Reply By: Ross M - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:13

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:13
G'day gordon-adel
Is the snatch strap suited to your vehicle?
There are different ratings to suit different weight vehicles. Not sure of the exact ratings and weights, there are, more better, good english here, advisers than me on the weight/rating isssue.
Too light a rating it may break and too heavy won't stretch enough to store the retrieval energy and will be suddenly stressing both vehicle's components associated with the snatch.
What type is your vehicle??
Some vehicle don't lend themselves to the snatch strap process and are too light in construction and many new vehicles don't have anywhere suitable to snatch from.

I know of 3 Holden crewman/4wd vehicles which were snatched and it resulted in the the whole front radiator/headlights panel disappearing and just leaving the basic frame, engine and mudguards. Damn spot welds! Probably not driveable afterwards I would think.
Use with caution at all times.

Ross M
AnswerID: 482093

Follow Up By: GT Campers - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 18:41

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 18:41
Ross, if that wasn't so serious, it'd be funny!

It quite clearlys says in the Holden manual that the screw-in front recovery points are for towing purposes only
FollowupID: 757378

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:17

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:17
I leave about 1 metre of slack, then take off with moderate acceleration. As the snatch strap stretches, considerable force will build up to assist the extraction process.


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AnswerID: 482094

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:21

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:21

That is not as easy to answer as you may think.

Why and how the vehicle that is requiring recovery is stuck will determine how the snatch strap is used.

Every recovery is different and the best advice that I can give is to

A. Do a 4wd training course before you go
B. Discuss with the other driver what he thinks is the best way to do the recovery.

Generally and I must repeat generally do the recovery as slow as possible the first time and if that works,great. If not try a little more momentum, if that does not work look at plan "C" which might mean a little track work.

Now that you have the snatch strap don't forget the rated bow shackles.

AnswerID: 482095

Follow Up By: gordon_adel - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:39

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:39
Thanks everyone for your answers. I drive a suzuki, not a very big proper 4x4. I won't be doing any serious stuff but if the rain comes in could possibly find some mud. Going from adl to ayers rock, kings canyon, alice springs and back via oodnadatta track.

definitely have proper shackles, bit of overkill if anything.
FollowupID: 757368

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:55

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:55
For your suzuki, I'd be reluctant to use any more than a 5ton strap.
The strap needs to be the weakest link - don't want your recovery points to be the weakest link.

And it should be rare to need a "snatch" in central australia. A tow is much safer - so the vehicle being recovered should have sand cleared from in front of the tyres and pressures reduced, and a tow should be all that is required. Don't drive like a bull at a gate to extract a vehicle.

AnswerID: 482102

Follow Up By: GT Campers - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 18:39

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 18:39
Correct Phil - the snatch strap is the MOST over-rated and over-used (and abused) piece of kit ever! That's not the equipment's fault, it is a matter of misinformation/poor education - and, possibly, too many 'hero' YouTube vids!

People die every year (ab)using these things.

If you must ask, you should do a competency-based course in correct vehicle recovery operations
FollowupID: 757376

Follow Up By: gordon_adel - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 18:40

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 18:40
FollowupID: 757377

Follow Up By: gordon_adel - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 19:32

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 19:32
searching youtube and googling there seems to be heaps of conflicting info.

anyone dare to open a discussion on the difference of snatching and towing and when and where to use each technique?
FollowupID: 757386

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 22:00

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 22:00
Hi Gordon,
Its impossible to teach safe snatch recovery on a forum. For some years I was a trainer/assessor in a 4wd club and it would be fair to say that I saw plenty of "unsafe recoveries" by "experienced" people. You will see even more unsafe recoveries on the beaches at goolwa/Coorong/Robe/Beachport etc on any summer weekend. The most dangerous thing that can happen is that the recovery points break or tear away from the chassis and you end up with a steel missile on the end of an elastic strap aimed at the other vehicle.

Snatching is what you consider doing when simple towing has failed, and where winching is not an option.
To snatch with safety requires more equipment than just a snatch strap. An equaliser strap and rated recovery points mounted to the chassis make it safer. But then you also don't want to be snatched by a vehicle that lacks these as well.

If you wish to learn more, then join one of the very good 4wd clubs in SA. The High Range 4wd club deals mostly with softroaders, and might be best for you but there are plenty of others - check out

For what you are doing in Central Australia, let me assure you that a tow will get you out of 99% of situations. And your Suzuki is light enough not to need a heavy snatch. The majority of recoveries I have done in Central Australia involved pulling tourists in hire 4wds with 45psi in the tyres out of river beds!

Enjoy your trip - its a great part of the country.
FollowupID: 757398

Follow Up By: gordon_adel - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 22:06

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 22:06
thanks phil, awesome advice.
FollowupID: 757399

Follow Up By: Member - Des Lexic - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 14:18

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 14:18
Phil knows his stuff and the only other comment for you is that there is a Suzuki4WD Club in Adelaide and I urge you to join a club and get the correct training. It won't cost anywhere as much as a training course.

FollowupID: 757431

Reply By: rumpig - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 20:07

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 20:07
here's a video for you to watch Gordon....take note of the S is for Slow part mentioned in relation to the speed needed to recover the vehicle.
what you don't see in the video is Dave's Patrol stalling when he does the recovery due to how slow he was going, yet the Cruiser still pops out of where it was well and truely bogged due to the snatch strap doing exactly what it is designed to do. (aswell as the proper preperation work done first up).
this video was made for the Fraser Island fishing expo a few years back, which was sponsored by Toyota, so sadly the Patrol wasn't allowed to be shown in the video. it's a shame really, as a wide shot would have been great to see, so people get a better idea that using alot of speed is not what a snatch strap is all about.

AnswerID: 482119

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 08:22

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 08:22

Check out this
Pat Callinan at his best

And there is heaps more on youtube !

Just remember that momentum is better than speed.
You may even find out that there is heaps of stuff on Pats Website
But nothing beats practice. !


AnswerID: 482138

Reply By: vk1dx - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 08:37

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 08:37
All good words above and the stuff on Pats site is well wort looking at.

I gather that you will be travelling solo and thus suggest you may want to invest in a set of maxtracks. A strap is fine if you have a car to pull you out. But if on your own a pair of maxtracks cannot be beaten.

Just a word on the first scene in the video. It is a good idea not to start driving off with an idiot staning in front of the car.


AnswerID: 482139

Reply By: whisky_mac - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 10:19

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 10:19
What about a couple of empty sandbags, light to car and stuff 'em anywhere. If bogged, sand or mud, just fill them up with sand, sticks or what ever and slip under the tyres. Simple and don't cost a lot.
AnswerID: 482149

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