Sometimes a snatch recovery is not practical or could prove too dangerous in the event the car may roll or become damaged during the recovery. Often a more controlled and slower approach is required.
Winches are perfect for recovery when there is an available anchor or tree that can be used.
A winch will allow you to slowly pull your vehicle to safety however they have their own dangers. It is recommended to use a winch cable dampener over the winch cable to prevent the cable sorting energy and flinging around should it break.
Winches can also be used with the aid of pulley blocks. A pulley block allows you to double the power of your winch which will halve its speed. Multiple pulley blocks can be used to redirect the winch direction or speed load across different parts of a vehicle.
There are two types of winches. Hand Winches are a mechanical ratcheting device operated by hand using a large lever to wind on the winch rope manually. Electric winches are a drum shaped device driven by an electric motor through low gearing.
Operating a hand winch involves a lot of manual labour, but if you’re out bush by yourself, it is recommended you at least take this type of winch with you. Hand winches are a simply a ratchet with a very long handle.
Electric winches utilise an electric motor connected directly to your cars battery. The motor is heavily geared to provide a large amount of torque at a relatively slow speed.
An electric winch will have a large drum which either a steel or synthetic cable is wound. Winches feature a hand controller which allows you to operate the winch at a safe distance in case the winch rope breaks.
The winch rope is attached via a shackle or hook to an anchor point. The winch is then operated by the hand controller to pull the vehicle free of the bog.
Winches can be used to rescue other vehicles by straight pulling the vehicle free, or used with a snatch block and anchor point to pull a stuck vehicle in a number of different ways.
Operating a winch can be a rewarding yet dangerous experience. In the hands of an experienced operator, winching can be safe and enjoyable and the recovery of the vehicle can be achieved.
When winching, the winch cable is put under extreme tension. The winch cable is a zero stretch spun wire construction or woven nylon construction depending on the winch. As the cable is put under tension, there is a likelyhood of the cable breaking if it comes into contact with a sharp rock on the ground or is weakened in any way.
When winching, the use of a winch damper is recommended. Weighted winch dampers are placed over the winch cable in a central location. In order to prevent the cable from damaging property or hurting anyone in the case where the winch cable may fail, the damper is weighted to reduce the kinetic energy stored in the cable.