If you’re an enthusiast driver, one factor that’s quite inevitable while you’re on the road is having an accident or your car breaking down suddenly in the middle of the road. Since you never know what kind of situation you might get yourself when driving, equipping yourself with recovery tools is one way of being safe rather than being sorry. Now, one of the most common recovery tools you can’t miss to pack is a recovery rope. When it comes to this topic, one of the most common questions I’ve often heard from motorists is, “What size kinetic recovery rope do I need?”

When it comes to the right size of a recovery rope, there’s no yes or no answer because everything depends on your personal needs. Someone driving a 3,500lb Jeep Wrangler will not need the same kinetic recovery rope with someone driving a 7,500lb truck or a 52,000lb RV holiday vehicle. So, to explain what size kinetic recovery rope you’ll need for your specific vehicle, this guide will first explain what this rope is, how to use it then finally explain which size is right for you.

What is a Kinetic Recovery Rope?

If you’re reading about kinetic recovery ropes for the first time, then I believe you must be wondering what these ropes are and what they do. If you’re that kind of person I’m referring to, then kinetic recovery ropes are special types of ropes that are used to recover or rather pull your vehicle from mud, snow, sand, or silt.

For them to do this, these recovery ropes are made from special heavy-duty braided nylon that has been reinforced with a Urethane Polymer coating to secure them from abrasion and damages caused by moisture, friction, and UV rays.

During the recovery process, these ropes are designed to elongate or rather stretch like a rubber band up to around 30% of their original length. You see, unlike chains and cables, kinetic recovery ropes are designed to smoothly stretch to transfer the kinetic energy of the pulling vehicle to that of the stuck vehicle.

One of the biggest advantages of this technique is that it allows the pulling vehicle to gain momentum before it begins to feel the weight of the stuck vehicle. Since the kinetic recovery rope will first stretch, this will create time for the kinetic energy of the pulling vehicle to transfer to the stuck vehicle to allow it to recover safely and efficiently. Also, by stretching, this rope will absorb most of the shock from the pulling vehicle that usually occurs when the car jerks forward unexpectedly.

What Size Do You Need?

Vehicle ClassDiameter Minimum Break Strength (MBS)Recommended Working Load Limit (WLL)
Snowmobiles and Garden Tractors¼ “ – 5/16”1,790 – 2,890360 – 560lbs
Mini Vans and Compact Cars3/8” – ½ “4,080 – 7,060lbs820 – 1,410lbs
SUV, Light Trucks, and Vans½ “ – 5/8”7,060 – 12,920lbs1,410 – 2,580lbs
Trucks, Tractors, 2dr Jeeps5/8” – ¾ “12,920 – 16240lbs2,580 – 3,250lbs
1/2 & 3/4 Ton Truck, Expedition, Durango, 4dr Jeep and Tractors¾ “ – 1”16,240 – 26,350lbs3,250 – 5,270lbs
Trucks, Tractors, and Heavy Mud Vehicles 80-120hp1” – 1 ½ “26,350 – 44,200lbs5,270 – 8,840lbs
Logging Trucks, Tractors, and Class 4-5 Vehicles1 ½ “ – 2”61,200 – 100,300lbs12,240 – 20,060lbs
Mining Trucks and Tractors 200-400hp2” – 2 ½ “100,300 – 148,750lbs20,060 – 29,750lbs

Now that we’ve mentioned some important points you need to be aware of regarding kinetic recovery ropes, this guide will now explain the right size kinetic recovery rope you’ll need to use when recovering your vehicle. For easy understanding, I will discuss a step-by-step procedure of how you’re supposed to recover a stuck vehicle.

  • Step 1: Matching the Vehicle With the Rope

When determining the right size of a kinetic recovery rope, the first step you’ll have to take is to match the weight of both vehicles. This way, you’ll easily calculate the minimum breaking strength (MBS) of your recovery rope. As a rule of thumb, the MBS should be 2-3 times the weight of the vehicles. So, if you’re looking to recover a Jeep or a truck weighing 4,500lbs, then you’ll need a recovery rope with an MBS of (4,500lb × 3 = 13,500lb) 13,500lbs.

According to our table just above, this minimum breaking strength means that you’ll need a rope with a diameter of ¾ “ to recover your Jeep or truck. One of the greatest mistakes most people make when recovering their vehicles is mismatching the size of the rope with the weights of both vehicles.

For instance, a military Humvee pulling a Toyota Tacoma means that the rope or the shackles mounted on the weaker vehicle are likely to break off and launch like a missile. In this situation, to avoid any accidents, the properties of the rope you’re using should be matched with the weight of the lighter vehicle.

  • Step 2: Set Up the Recovery System

Setting up the recovery system means attaching the ropes on both vehicles. Here, you need to make sure that the rope is attached at the exact recovery point as indicated by your car manufacturer. The save working limit (SWL) or working load limit (WLL) of both the rope and the shackle will highly depend on the weight of your car.

  • Step 3: Execute the Recovery

Kinetic recovery ropes have a thickness that ranges from ½ “to 2”. The length also varies as it ranges anywhere from 16ft. to 30ft. So, when executing a recovery, you need to confirm the length of the rope to determine the distance you’ll be pulling the stuck vehicle from.

Now, when choosing the length of a recovery rope, you need to consider your geographical location such as those regions you usually drive on. By considering this factor, you’ll know whether to go for a long or a short rope.

For instance, let’s assume you get a 30ft. recovery rope and you’re hoping to pull your vehicle on a terrain full of obstacles (such as trees, shrubs, and rocks) in this situation, these obstacles will not provide enough room to recover your vehicle. So, in such situations, getting a shorter (let’s say 20ft.) rope plus a 10ft. kinetic bridle will generally help you to recover your car. The function of the bridle here is to extend the length of the rope to 30ft. in case of an emergency.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, using a kinetic recovery rope isn’t as hard as it sounds. Provided you match your vehicle’s properties with those of the rope, the process is as easy as A-B-C. However, I must emphasize that kinetic recovery ropes are only intended to “recover” your vehicle from a situation but not to tow your vehicle along the road to your destination. So, in case your vehicle is unable to start due to damages incurred, it’s recommended that you contact a tow service to get your vehicle to a mechanic.

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