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How to Prevent Winch Cable Backlash

Winching Tip of the Week from ProMark Offroad


Winching Tip of the Week: Drape a heavy coat or tree branch over the cable to absorb energy in case the cable should snap.

In the rare case that a winch cable snaps, it can lash back with tremendous force. To prevent serious damage or bodily injury, throw a heavy coat or similar object over the taut cable before beginning the winching process. The coat will absorb a large amount of the force if the cable snaps and prevent the cable from whipping violently through the air.

The coat or object should be placed midway between the winch and the anchor point. Some possible weighted objects include the following:

  • A heavy blanket (such as a mover’s blanket)
  • Chain
  • Floor mats
  • A backpack
  • A tree limb

Even with a weighted object over the winch cable, you should still follow all safety precautions for winching. Make sure all bystanders are clear of the cable’s path, stand clear of the cable while operating the winch, and do not step over the cable when it is under tension.

And remember that the best way to prevent your winch cable from breaking is to perform regular maintenance on your winch and cable.

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