How to Use a Snatch Strap

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Most 4WD enthusiasts will know what it feels like to get bogged. You can be cruising down the beach without a worry in the world then hit a soft patch of sand and suddenly you’re stuck! You’ll need to try digging your way out with some recovery tracks if you have them, but if nothing else prevails then you’ll have to resort to using a snatch strap. While there are a series of recovery equipment available, the snatch strap is an indispensable item that you should always bring with you when off-roading.

It’s very common for people to get bogged in mud and sand, however it’s vital that anyone who travels off-road understands how to recover their vehicle in the event they get bogged. If you’ve never had the opportunity of getting bogged in the past, don’t worry, it will happen eventually! Having your own recovery gear is considered good form when the unfortunate strikes, so if you don’t have a snatch strap already you should seriously consider buying one the next time you’re at your 4WD store.

Load ratings

A snatch strap is an 8 – 10 metre Nylon Webbing strap that is normally between 60mm and 75mm wide. Snatch straps are available in differing load ratings depending on the weight of your vehicle (often between 6,000 kg and 15,000 kg). You should purchase a snatch strap with a load rating that is at least 2 – 3 times the weight of your vehicle.

If you use a snatch strap that’s too light then it can potentially break and become a high-speed projectile. Alternatively, if it’s too heavy then it can potentially hack your tow points from your vehicle. In any case, snatch straps can be quite dangerous and it’s essential that you understand how to use one properly.

Preparation

To give your 4×4 the best chance of being recovered, use a long handled shovel to dig the sand or mud from around the tyres. You should also clear away sand or other impediments from the underbelly of your 4×4 and use a hi-lift jack to elevate your vehicle if required.

Always attach your snatch strap to a correctly engineered tow point on your vehicle and not tow bars, bull bars, or suspension which can easily break and become a lethal weapon. The connection to your 4×4 must be made with minimum rated ‘D’ shackles of 3.5 tonnes which should be anchored securely to the tow point. There should also be no passengers in either vehicle and all onlookers should stand at the very least 1.5 times the length of the strap in every direction.

Recovery method

It’s essential that both 4×4’s are aligned as straight as possible when making the recovery. After the snatch strap has been connected to both 4×4’s, leave approximately 2 metres of slack and make sure there are no kinks in the strap by coiling it into a ‘Z’ figure. It’s encouraged to put a blanket or similar material over the middle of the strap which will reduce any recoil in case the strap breaks.

Ensure both 4WDs are in the same gear (ideally low range 1 or 2 or reverse) and when both 4x4s are ready, use a UHF radio or hand signals to communicate. At the agreed point, the rescue vehicle should accelerate smoothly at roughly 10 – 12 kph at which time the bogged vehicle should release the clutch and accelerate too.

The best recovery strategy is to use controlled momentum instead of excessive wheel spinning or jerky movements. When the action is slow and smooth, the elasticity of the snatch strap will literally ‘suck’ the bogged vehicle out of its predicament. If the first attempt fails then increase the slack to around 3 metres or try to increase the speed of the take-off marginally.

Being an essential piece of recovery equipment, a snatch strap is one of the most effective ways of recovering a vehicle from a sticky situation. If you’re interested in acquiring a snatch strap for your 4WD, TJM Australia have you covered with a range of different load ratings. To find out more, reach out to our staff directly on 07 3865 9999.

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