If you’ve never gotten stuck, then you’re yet to see what nature has to offer. To those that enjoy driving miles away from civilization, then I believe you’ve gotten stuck at least once in your off-roading career. Getting stuck doesn’t mean that you’re driving the wrong vehicle. In fact, even the best 4×4 vehicles get bogged down axles deep into the sand or mud. Since getting stuck is part of daily off-roading encounters, learning how to attach recovery strap is one lesson you shouldn’t neglect.
Why recovery straps? Now, the 4×4 recovery gear consists of several accessories. There’s a shovel, recovery boards, winch extension straps, static straps, snatch block, bow, and soft shackles. But, while all these accessories are necessary during a recovery situation, a recovery strap is one of the must-have 4×4 recovery gears that can offer you tremendous help in such predicaments.
How to Attach Recovery Strap: Step by Step Guide
If you’ve been part of a convoy during an off-road expedition, then I believe you’ve heard of the recovery strap. You can also hear it in other names such as kinetic and snatch straps. What you may not have learned, however, is how to use the recovery strap to pull out a vehicle from a sticky situation such as mud, sand, or snow.
Thankfully, this guide has offered to walk you through a detailed step-by-step procedure on how to attach a recovery strap to recover a vehicle.
But First, What Should You Look For in a Recovery Strap?
When asked, most experts agreed that all recovery straps must be constricted from 100% nylon material. Any material besides nylon means that the strap is no longer a snatch strap but rather a static or tow strap. The reason why nylon is preferred is due to its stretchy characteristic that makes it ideal for such recovery procedures.
Since the recovery process involves stretching the strap to its very limits, it must have tough consistent stitching that doesn’t have any weak points. Note that if there’s a weak point somewhere on the strap, then this can cause the strap to rapture rendering it useless in the middle of nowhere.
Still on the construction, make sure that you inspect the loops to ensure there are no metal hooks attached. The loops on the ends should be double-stitched and protected with an outer sheath to maintain the strap’s rating.
Another area you must take a closer look at is the rating of the recovery strap. Remember, recovery straps are rated depending on the weight of the vehicle they’ll be recovering. So, to avoid any disappointments, make sure that you confirm the strap’s rating to ensure that it’s rated for your specific vehicle.
Lastly, you need to peruse through the various brands to see which among them is at the top. The best thing about inspecting brand authenticity to ensure that what you get has passed through strict safety standards before it’s released for purchase.
So, with those five factors at your disposal, I’ll go straight to the topic where I’ll discuss how to attach and use a recovery strap to pull out a stuck vehicle.
Gather Your Supplies
- A recovery strap
- Two shackles/D-rings
- Vehicle recovery tracks
- A long-handled shovel
How to Attach the Strap
Step One: Access the Situation
With everything ready, start the recovery process by first inspecting the situation to determine the right course of action. You’ll need to inspect the wheels to see how deep they’re buried and check whether they can spin. Also, check whether there are any obstacles in the direction you’ll be recovering the vehicle and remove them immediately. This will help to create a clear path when recovering your vehicle.
Step Two: Locate the Tow Hitch
This is one of the most important steps that require maximum concentration. According to most veteran off-roaders, locating the tow hitch is normally a matter of life and death as failure to get the right spot can create a life-threatening situation that can be messy.
So, to locate the tow hitch, simply check beneath the vehicle. Make sure that you attach the loops of the recovery strap to the right hitch. Never attach the recovery strap on the bullbar, towball, towbar, or the factory-tow down points that are not appropriately rated for dynamic loads of a recovery situation.
Also, never connect the loops on any moving or suspension parts such as the axle, bumper, and steering rods as this can damage your vehicle once it’s jerked forward by the kinetic force of the recovery strap.
With that said, pick a D-ring and unscrew its pin. Next, pick your recovery strap and feed one end of the D-ring through the eyelet on the strap’s loop. This means that one end of the recovery strap is now attached to the D-ring.
Step Three: Connect Both Vehicles
With the D-ring already attached to the snatch strap’s loop, proceed to connect the D-ring to the right hatch on both vehicles. When you’re done, put the pins back to the D-rings and secure them with screws to ensure they’re tight. Also, make sure the recovery vehicle is driven close enough to the recovered vehicle depending on the length of the snatch strap.
Before you commence the recovery procedure, always make sure the pulling vehicle has the 4WD Low engaged. The reason for doing this is to boost the engine with more power to spin the tires. In the process, the pulling vehicle will have enough torque to pull a heavy load which in our case is to recover another vehicle.
How to Perform the Recovery
Step One: Add a Winch Damper
With everything ready, let’s now begin the recovery process. Start by wrapping the center of the recovery strap with a winch damper or blanket. This is a safety precaution that prevents the D-ring or any other metallic shackles from flying dangerously in case the recovery strap breaks. Also, the rest of the bystanders should move at a safe distance during the recovery process to prevent any unexpected accidents.
Step Two: Begin the Pull
To prevent any sudden jerking, the pulling vehicle should accelerate at a slow steady pace while maintaining constant communication with the driver of the other vehicle. The reason for the slow steady movement is to prevent the sudden jerking that can cause the recovery strap to break unexpectedly.
Now, in the beginning, I mentioned about removing obstacles around the area you’ll be working on. The reason for that was to create enough space for the pulling vehicle to move in a straight line without being obstructed.
As the driver of the pulling vehicle accelerates slowly, the recovery strap will begin to stretch building up kinetic energy that will be used to boost the stuck vehicle. To make this process successful, the driver of the stuck vehicle will try to accelerate to take advantage of the kinetic energy on the recovery strap. By combining these two forces, the stuck vehicle will be pulled with ease and recovered from its current situation.
Step Three: After the Recovery
So, once the recovery process is successfully over, the driver of the stuck vehicle should notify the other driver to pull over. This will allow you to disconnect the D-rings from both vehicles to release the recovery strap. Put them back in the recovery kit and make sure you countercheck your vehicle for any possible damages.
Before I call it done, let’s assume the stuck vehicle was damaged during the process? Well, in such a situation, you’ll have to remove the recovery strap and replace it with tow or static strap. The reason why tow straps are the best for towing is due to the static characteristic that prevents them from stretching and jerking forward.
In conclusion, recovering a stuck vehicle doesn’t just require you to have a recovery strap. You need to have the entire recovery kit ready to allow the tools to work in unison. You need a shovel to clear some mud, snow, or sand as well as something to clear the bushes in case you’re in a forested area.
Thankfully, this guide has offered you everything you’ll need to know when recovering a vehicle. By following the steps carefully, you’ll not only recover your vehicle successfully but you’ll also accomplish the process safely to avoid any possible accidents.