When driving off-road, there’s a greater chance of getting stuck at one point. Since it’s hard to tell when accidents might happen, staying equipped with some recovery accessories is one way of staying safe. Now, most off-roaders talk of adding a winch to their vehicles. Although it’s a valuable piece to have onboard, a recovery strap is another accessory you can’t miss packing. So, in this guide, we’re going to discuss how to attach a recovery strap to a vehicle in case of a sticky situation.
Now, recovery straps are known by many names such as snatch straps, winch straps, tree savers, and kinetic ropes. They also come in two major shapes, which are rounded and flat. Rounded ones are called ropes while flat ones are called straps.
Recovery ropes are made of double-braided nylon that has an exceptional stretching ability when under load. This stretching advantage is what helps a vehicle to recover from its bogged state. Lastly, these ropes come in different widths and diameters depending on the weight of the vehicle that’s being recovered. With that said, this guide will discuss exactly how you’re supposed to recover a stuck vehicle.
When to Use a Recovery Strap
Before we discuss how to attach a recovery strap, it’s a good thing that you understand when to use this recovery accessory. Now, if you’re stuck in a ditch or in mud, a recovery strap is the best tool to use. However, to use it, you’ll need the help of a second vehicle.
So, assuming a recovery vehicle is present, a recovery strap will have to be tied to specific rated anchor points on both vehicles. From there, the recovery vehicle will have to accelerate forward to stretch the kinetic rope to make the recovery process a success.
Now, once the stuck vehicle has been pulled from its bogged state, the rope should be untied from both vehicles and stored. In case the recovered vehicle is damaged and needs to be pulled, you should use a tow strap instead of a recovery strap.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Using a Recovery Strap
Always inspect the recovery rope before using it. This will help to identify any tears, cuts, and frays that might cause the rope to snap when in use.
Make sure the recovery strap is connected to rated recovery points. Don’t attach the rope on the vehicle’s bumper, axle, steering rods, or hitch ball.
To avoid any interruption during recovery, make sure that you remove large logs, rocks, and branches from your path.
Lastly, make sure you’re using a rated recovery strap and shackles to recover your vehicle. For instance, if your 2-door Jeep or SUV is in the 4,000 lbs weight range, you need to find a recovery strap that has a maximum load limit of 12,000 lbs (4000 lbs x 3 = 12,000 lbs). In this case, the ideal diameter of the rope should be ¾ inches.
In most cases, a thicker rope offers a higher safety-rating factor. However, if you get an extremely thick recovery rope to recover a small vehicle, most of the springing advantage will be lost causing the recovery rope to behave like a tow strap. Also, a thick recovery strap will be difficult to fit in narrow tow hooks and shackles found in smaller vehicles.
How Do You Attach a Recovery Strap?
Gather Your Supplies
- Rated recovery strap
- Rated D-rings/shackles
- Strap damper
Step One: Clear the Area
Just as we’ve mentioned above, the first step of recovering a vehicle is to clear the area you’ll be working on. This includes removing any rocks, shrubs, logs, and branches that might interfere with the recovery process.
Step Two: Remove the Recovery Rope
Once you’re done, remove the recovery rope from the carry bag and place it on the ground. Make sure that one end of the rope is close to the stuck vehicle while the other end is close is to the recovery vehicle. Also, make sure the rope is “S” shaped. This way, the driver of the stuck vehicle will be aware of the rope once it stretches.
Step Three: Locate the Tow Hooks
This is usually the dirtiest part of any recovery procedure. In this step, you have to find suitable spots to attach the recovery rope. So, here, you’ll be attaching the loops of the recovery rope on the D-ring attachment on the car’s frame or the frame-mounted tow hook. In the case of a closed D-ring, you can use a rated shackle to help in the connection.
Just as we mentioned earlier, never strap a recovery rope on points that are not rated for recovery procedures. These include the bumper, the suspension, and the steering components.
Step Four: Attach the Recovery Rope
So, once you’ve located the perfect attachment points, proceed to attach one end of the rope’s loop to the stuck vehicle and the other end to the recovery vehicle. In case you’re in doubt, you can always refer to your car’s manual for further assistance.
Step Five: Have Everyone Move Aside
In case you’re recovering a vehicle with onlookers at a close range, then you have to ask them to move to a safer distance away from the recovery point. This will help to maximize their safety in case things get out of hand.
Also, before you start the recovery process, it’s safe to strap a damper at the center of the recovery strap. In case you don’t have a damper, a heavy blanket can be helpful. The reason for this is to weigh down the strap in case it snaps.
Step Six: Accelerate the Vehicles
So, with everything ready, the driver of the recovery vehicle will have to accelerate in a low-range second gear while maintaining a steady motion. The driver of the stuck vehicle will follow by accelerating steadily using the first gear.
As the recovery vehicle accelerates, the recovery rope will stretch to accumulate kinetic energy from the moving vehicle. Once it reaches its maximum stretching point, it will rebound or rather slingshot, transferring the kinetic energy to the stuck vehicle. In the process, the stuck vehicle will jerk forward and get free from its bogged state.
Step Seven: Continue Driving to a Safe Distance
Once the stuck vehicle has been recovered, the two drivers should proceed to drive to a safer distance away from the mud, snow, or sand. From there, stop the vehicles and disconnect the recovery rope.
Step Eight: Clean the Rope
So, once you’re through with the recovery process, the last step is to disconnect the rope from both vehicles. When you’re done, clean it thoroughly while still inspecting it for any signs of wear. When you’re done, fold it neatly and place it back in its respective carry bag.
So, there you have it. As you can see, attaching a recovery strap to your vehicle is not a difficult procedure provided you follow the right steps. Thankfully, this short guide has offered everything you need to know including when to use a recovery strap and some important tips you must consider when recovering a vehicle.
As we conclude, it’s important to remember that recovery straps are specifically intended to recover vehicles and not to tow them. So, in case your vehicle has broken down unexpectedly, you should either use a tow strap or contact a towing company to come and pull your vehicle.
Using a recovery strap to perform towing tasks is dangerous as these ropes are too stretchy to maintain consistent pressure when pulling a vehicle.