How to Winch Safely

While off-road enthusiasts are usually familiar with how to safely operate a winch, those who have no experience might not know the drill.  The type of winch we will be discussing will be a winch on the front bumper of an off-road vehicle. This winch accessory is often requested by Jeep owners.

First order of business, let’s discuss safety.  Protecting yourself and people nearby is the first issue. Winches that have been overloaded, or set up improperly, can result in snapped winch cables that might whip someone in the face or body causing awful injuries.  To avoid this, ensure that nobody is in any position where they can be struck with a snapped cable.  That means anybody in front of the cable or off to the side.  Broken winch cables could fly in almost any direction.

Setting up your winch

The team at Patrick Cars in Schaumburg, IL, says that the first step to using a winch right is to attach your winch’s electronic remote control head to the correct multi-pin port on the winch. Route the electronic line so that you’re safely away from the action when you start winching.

Next, we have to find a secure winching anchor location.  In order for your vehicle to successfully free itself, the winch has to be attached to a secure anchor point in a straight line from the point where the vehicle is stuck. Ideally, look for a secure feature like a tree or huge rock to hook the cable to. When a piece of nature is not available, you can utilize another vehicle as the anchor point.

Put on leather gloves and adjust the winch’s controls to disengage the clutch.  Begin pulling out the cable and transport yourself on your own two feet towards the anchor point in a straight line. When you arrive, wrap a winch strap around the anchor point at the lowest point you can.  Slide a D-shackle through the strap’s ends and tighten the shackle’s anchor bolt. Now, attach the cable to the anchor point.

Start to wind the winch line back into the winch until there’s slight tension on the line.  Then double check the connections at the anchor point to make sure that everybody is well out of the way, should something go wrong.

It’s Winching Time!

Using your remote control, push the button that pulls the cable up into the winch spool. Whilst winching, it’s best to have the vehicle being winched running with a driver applying power.  This will help with the winching. Once the vehicle starts moving, continue reeling in the cable until the vehicle is on a stable surface.  You will know you’ve succeeded when the vehicle can drive under its own power 100%.

Final Thing

The final step is to remove the anchor strap and reel the cable back into the winch. Make sure that the line doesn’t become tangled up while re-spooling and be sure to never place any hands on the cable when re-spooling. We hope that you have enjoyed this article, and learned about some of the details that impact the safety of a winching operation!

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