It makes no difference whether you have a basic or top-tier winch in your vehicle, you must know the right way to use it. It’s not just you pull out the cable, then lock it with a tree and pull in. There's so much in-between ranging from correct usage to the safety of you and others. That brings us to how to use a cable winch puller safely and efficiently.
Now, that may seem overwhelming at first, but it's for your safety and the longevity of the winch you are using. As long as you follow the rules and be aware of your surroundings, you have nothing to worry about. With that said, let’s dive into how to use a cable puller winch with comprehensive steps.
Table of Contents
7 Steps To Use A Cable Winch Puller
Things to know before using a winch
Know your cable winch puller thoroughly. Like how much pull-force it can generate in different conditions, what accessories it comes with, and its capabilities. These are some common questions you need to have the answer to. That way, you can have an informed decision when the time arrives.
For example, you know your winch can pull 6000-7000 pounds. But the accessories you are using like rope, hooks, straps, pulley block don't have enough strength as your winch, it might break easily. Typically, you would want your accessories to have 2 or 3 times the strength of your vehicle weight.
Another thing you need to be aware of is safety. Not just you, it also includes your vehicle and people around your vehicle. In winching operations, anything can happen. Your rope might tear apart, broken parts may fly off to your vehicle, or simply tangle yourself with the rope. All these are possibilities and never to take them lightly.
For your safety, always use gloves, goggles and be mindful of your safety steps. You never want to be in front or back of the vehicle. Standing close to the rope is another big no. The same goes for people around your vehicle. Winch operator should be in the vehicle and other people should stand at a safe distance. Here you can consider rope length to estimate safe distance.
Evaluate your surroundings
Every recovery situation is different from one another. Examining them carefully would help you to make an appropriate decision. You could be stuck in a level field or trying to overcome a steep hill. Plus, what's underneath your tire also matters.
In most flat surfaces, your winch power alone is enough. But, crossing a slope or slippery surface with only winch pull can be tough sometimes. In this case, you may need to use your engine power along with the winch. So, plan accordingly.
Find a strong anchor point
Now find a suitable anchor position to set your rope. Most times it would be a tree or a large boulder. For tree anchor points, find a mature tree with a strong root connection with the soil. Do not choose any dead trees as they are mostly dry and hollow inside.
For a boulder situation, that boulder needs to be as big as your vehicle possibly without any cracks on them. Use bolder as anchor point only in flat or downhill recovery situations. It's not a good idea to use them in slope recovery. Also, keep as much distance between the vehicle and the boulder to avoid accidents.
Pull your cable out
Set your winch clutch to the free spooling position and pull the cable. One thing to remember, your winch will operate at full capacity right after the first complete lap of winding. To put it simply, pull out the cable till you see the first round of wrapping that covers both ends of the winch drum.
From that exact point, your winch pull will have most of its power. Use the rest of the loose rope to find a perfect anchor point. Though the situation may not be that tolerant, it’s a good practice nonetheless.
Lock the rope with appropriate accessories
There are so many accessories you can use when securing the rope with an anchor point. It could be a steel hook, tree strap, soft shackle, bow shackle, or snatch block. Each of these accessories has a different play in the winch operation.
Use the tree strap for tree anchor points. It will prevent any damages to the tree and make the contact more secure. Soft shackles are good for situations where you don’t want to use heavy steel hooks or shackles. But remember, they are not as strong as their steel counterparts.
The snatch block or pulley block is great for double line pull. Theoretically, it doubles the pulling strength on the contrary to a single line pull. Use this method whenever the situation allows you to. This way, your winch motor won't have to work that hard and increase the lifespan in the process.
Carefully winch in
At this point, you have found the perfect anchor point and secured the connection with suitable accessories. Check everything for the last time. Make sure you have placed weight blankets on each end of the cable and all the steel hooks are facing downwards.
Now, you can winch in either with the wireless remote or wired controller. It’s a good idea to keep the engine running so the vehicle’s alternator can feed the winch additional power. Remember to put the shifter in neutral if you feel you don’t need your engine power.
Follow 10-second burst triggering when winching in. In this manner, your winch won't overheat and will make solid progress over time. Make necessary maneuvers until you reach the designated point.
Re-cable the winch
You have successfully recovered your vehicle. Now, comes the part where you re-cable the winch properly. This will release cable tension and avoid wrap overlapping. Thus, the next time you use the winch puller it will be in good condition and ready for action.
As we are at the end, we have tried to cover every aspect of winching and accessories to use in different situations. Hope this clears out any doubts on how to use a cable winch puller safe and sound.