Most 4WD enthusiasts understand how to safely recover their 4WD after getting bogged in sand, mud, or snow, however we’re always in a constant state of learning and pick up new tips and tricks all the time. Using a snatch strap or winch are both very effective ways of recovering your 4WD, however both techniques are fraught with danger and care must be taken to ensure you and everyone else remains safe.
I’ve seen many dangerous recoveries in the past ranging from joining snatch straps with shackles to recovering from a tow ball, and luckily no-one has been hurt. Despite this, there have been many injuries sustained from incorrect recoveries and it’s paramount that people understand what they should and shouldn’t do. To try and make sure everyone stays safe whilst 4WDing this year, here’s our top 6 things you should never do in a 4WD recovery.
Overload your winch
Even though winches are a terrific recovery tool, you need to take care not to overload them specifically when stuck in mud. Mud has tremendous suction power and failing a recovery in mud is very common. Most 4WD owners will invest in a 12,000 lb winch and this tends to be underrated if you’re stuck in mud up to your chassis. Always use snatch blocks if you have them and dig around your chassis and tyres to lessen the load on your winch.
Forgetting to use a shovel before recovery
Even though shovelling mud or sand from under your 4×4 may not be the most luxurious job, it considerably reduces the force needed to recover your vehicle. The majority of the time, shovelling in front of all four wheels only requires 15 minutes of work and this enables your vehicle to pop up onto the surface far easier. In addition, you’ll substantially reduce the possibility of your snatch strap or cable breaking.
Stand too close to the recovery
One of the riskiest things you can do is stand too close to the recovery. Although recovering a 4WD embedded in sand or mud may be intriguing to watch, it’s also very dangerous as there are a number of things which can go wrong. Your recovery point could fail, your cable or strap could break, or your 4WD could gain too much momentum and launch at spectators. It’s strongly encouraged that everybody stand a minimum of 50m from the recovery and in their vehicles if possible.
Use your tow ball as a recovery point
Although tow balls may look to be durable, they’re nowhere near strong enough to be used as a point of recovery. Tow balls are produced for constant down-load pressure and not rigorous side-load pressure and they will fracture to become a high-speed flying projectile if you try to recover from it. There have been many situations where a tow ball has severely injured and even killed folks simply because not enough people comprehend the dangers involved.
Join two snatch straps with a shackle
In some instances, the length of one snatch strap isn’t adequate to recover your 4×4 so using two snatch straps connected together is the obvious solution. If you need to do this, it’s key that you join the straps together using the correct method and not just attach them together with a shackle which can snap and turn into a dangerous projectile. Snatch straps should only be fastened together by feeding the end of Strap A through the eye of Strap B, and then feeding the same eye of Strap A over the other end of Strap B.
Recover from points which are not rated
Not many 4WDs feature rated recovery points from factory and what may look to be a recovery point is in fact a tie down point for hauling the vehicle. If you make an attempt to recover from any of these points then you’ll most likely see a clump of metal soaring through the air faster than a speeding bullet! Always see to it that you use rated recovery points from at least two M12 grade 8.8 bolts which are attached correctly to the chassis.
The most meaningful element of 4WDing is enjoying yourself and ensuring you return home safely. Although getting bogged isn’t the most satisfying feeling, it’s much better to spend more time formulating a safe and dependable way to recover than rushing your recovery and potentially injuring another person.
For a variety of 4WD products and accessories together with a range of high-quality recovery gear, consult TJM Australia by phoning their staff directly on 07 3865 9999.