Knowing how to use a winch ensures you get out quickly and safely. Every beginner can use a handy guide to learn how to use a winch.
Take reasonable precautions to protect yourself and others. Everyone participating in winching, from hookup to re-spooling, should wear leather gloves. Name one person as the boss of the winch controls to reduce confusion; name another as the rope person if possible. You can reduce failures that could result in injury by setting up properly, couple with reliable accessories, and do not overload winches.
Connect the winch’s remote to its designated port. Route the winch rope in a way that avoids pinching the remote control; the route will depend on where you stand.
Unwind a couple feet of winch rope; create enough slack to disconnect the winch from the anchor point.
Select a sturdy anchor point. Natural, secure features, such as trees, large rocks, or stumps work best. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to anchor to chains wrapped around deeply buried logs or trees. Envision a line between your vehicle and the anchor point: choose a line that is straight, has relatively even terrain, and is free from large obstacles. Take your time – this could be the most important step to pulling out your Jeep, ATV, snowmobile or other vehicle.
Using the winch controls, disengage the clutch and pull the winch rope in a straight path toward the anchor point. Look for any rocks, branches, or other obstructions that could get in the way.
Wrap a winch strap or choker chain in a U-shape around the lowest part possible of the anchor point. Slide a D-shackle through the ends of the strap or choker. Secure the shackle bolt. Do not over-tighten the shackle bolt; the bolt will continue to tighten as weight is applied.
Whenever possible, leave the vehicle running with a person at the controls. This driver may be able to apply the gas and assist the winching operation.
Slide the winch hook through the D-shackle. Re-engage the winch clutch. Use the remote to reel the rope back into until there is slight tension on the line.
Toss a heavy blanket over the line to prevent the rope from whipping wildly if it breaks – use quality synthetic ropes to reduce this risk. Once you place the blanket on the rope, everyone should stand clear of the operation.
Use the remote control to spool the rope slowly back into the winch. Continue reeling in the rope until the vehicle reaches stable terrain. Stop reeling when the vehicle reaches a place where a driver could drive it out under its own power.
Apply the emergency brake in the vehicle. Disconnect the wire rope from its anchor. Apply slight tension to the line as you walk it inward, using the remote to reel in the slack. Make sure the line does not become tangled and keep hands and other body parts away from the drum or cable during re-spooling.
Practice your winching techniques with someone who has done it before. Use quality winching tools and ropes for best results.