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11 Must Learn Winching Safety Tips For Beginners

If you don't know, winch is an amazing tool for recovering your vehicles from a stuck position. You can use this to pull your vehicle from a crater, ride over a boulder, or climb a steep hill. 

While this adds tremendous help in such situations, neglecting winching safety may cause more harm than good. Due to vehicle winching involving a powerful motor, high tension lines, heavy equipment, safety is very important, especially for beginners.

Some Top Quality winches will come with a set of instructions and guidelines out of the box. But, most of the time it doesn't cover every aspect of a winching operation. For that exact reason, we have rounded up these must-learn winching tips for beginners.

  • Learn the fundamentals of winching
  • Always examine winch before a ride
  • Check winch line periodically
  • Always use proper safety gears while winching
  • Use winching rated equipment only
  • Try to make proper use of different winching equipment
  • Beware of your winch limits
  • Use short burst reeling technique
  • Follow general safety precaution
  • Learn and use hand signals
  • Get spotter aid if you can

1. Learn the fundamentals of winching

Before attempting to use a winch in a real scenario, make sure you know the basics. Your winch may come with a remote, portable plug-in wire, or dashboard control. Make sure you understand what each button does and the proper way to do it. Here, the user manual comes in very handy.

No matter how easy it may seem, never overlook the fundamentals of using a winch. If you are still confused about the controls, do a couple of practice runs with a tree.

2. Always examine winch before a ride

Every vehicle owner having a winch should build a habit of examining the winch on a regular basis before any ride. This will flush out any pre-existing issue before the real winch operation. Besides, it will also prevent any potential winching accidents. The examination should include checking the lines, motor functionality, Drum integrity, and so on.

Most of the time, you will be looking for any irregularities in these parts of the winch. For example, it could be rust, mud deposits, loose bolts, weird noises from the motor, and so forth. If you can find the problem before the journey, there will be time to fix it with proper tools.

3. Check winch line periodically

The Winch line is one of the most crucial parts of the winch system. Your winch line could be a synthetic or steel line. Whatever the case may be, checking it regularly will save you from various winching accidents. Besides, both types of lines have a certain temper level you should be aware of.

One good thing about the synthetic line is if any part of the line wears off, you can easily cut out the damaged portion and reuse it. But, in the case of the steel line, you may need to change the entire length, if it’s too rusty. Regularly cleaning and drying are also part of proper winch line maintenance.

4. Always use proper safety gears while winching

Using safety gear while operating the winch is a basic winch safety measure we all have to take. Whether you have prior experience or using the winch for the first time, there's no substitute for that. Putting on a safety glass and heavy gloves are two major steps you should always take first before handling a winch.

5. Use winching rated Accessories only

Whether it is an extension line, snatch block, tree strap, hook, safety winch thimble, or any other accessories, make sure it’s for winching. Don’t just take any accessories from the shop and attach them to your winch. These accessories need to have a tolerance level of 5000 lbs or more. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on this matter.

6. Try to make proper use of different winching accessories

Sometimes using only the winch is not enough for certain pulling operations safely. Here, your winch line may fall short, or you have to wrap around a tree. Use thick straps for the tree and snatch blocks for double line pulling. Another useful accessory is the line weight which keeps the line on the ground even after a snap.

7. Beware of your winch limits

Every winch has its limit on how much it can pull in certain circumstances. Manufacturers use pounds to determine the weight it will be able to tug along. Plus the angle of the anchor point also matters in this situation. Once you review the user guide you will have an idea of what to expect from your winch. Just make sure you don’t cross the line.

8. Use short burst reeling technique

Winching in a short burst is a useful technique that reels the line a couple of inches at a time. This is to increase motor efficiency and avoid accidental snap-off of the line. Besides, firing in a short burst also prevents the motor from overheating. The more you put less pressure on the motor, the more it will last.

9. Follow general safety precaution

Apart from the above safety tips, make sure there are no people in the vicinity. The rule of thumb is to stay clear of the vehicle minimum equal length of the line. That way even if it breaks, snapped wire is unlikely to touch any person. And, remember not to cross over the line when winching is in progress.

10. Learn and use hand signals

Hand signals convey vital instruction to the winch operator so he can safely control. There are only a few common hand signals like winch-in, winch-out, and stop. Learning these will help to understand or convey the message for your or other’s winching operation.

11. Get spotter aid if you can

If you are riding with a friend, setting the winch and reel in safely by yourself would be easy. In addition to that, keep your friend outside at a safe distance and tell him to give you direction on the track approaching.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, winch helps a lot in off-road riding and getting you out of the sticky situation. Nonetheless, winching safety is something you don’t want to miss, even in exchange for extra efforts. Upon following the above tips, you can operate your winch more safely as well as last a lot longer.

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