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How to use a winch

8 STEPS

Whether you live out in the country or drive frequently on uneven, unpredictable terrain, having a winch installed on your vehicle can save you from getting stuck in a difficult position. 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

Step

Plan your pull

Before getting started, carefully assess the situation and make sure you have everything you need.

Step

Put on gloves

Keep a pair of sturdy work gloves in your vehicle to protect your hands. Wear them at all times while using your winch. 

Step

Find a good anchor

Locate a strong tree or boulder to use as your anchor. Look for something suitable positioned at a 90 degree angle to your vehicle. If you choose an anchor to one side of your vehicle, you risk having the rope pile up on one side of the drum during winching. That can cause damage to both the rope and the winch.

Step

Set the Rope

Disengage the clutch and pull out the rope, giving yourself more than you need. 

Step

Harness your anchor or project

Wrap a sling around your anchor. Attach the ends with a D shackle and then attach the clevis hook. For long pulls, create a double line using a snatch block, to significantly reduce the strain on the rope. Just attach the snatch block securely to the D shackle, double the rope back to the vehicle and attach the clevis hook.

Step

Tighten the slack

Engage the clutch and power the winch to draw up most of the slack. Drape a blanket or jacket over the rope, in case it should break, to help protect you from any snap back.

Step

Begin winching

Start engine and begin winching, using short, controlled pulls. Make sure the line always has a little slack and monitor that the rope is winding evenly. Continue until your vehicle is unstuck and on firm ground. 

Step

Rewind the rope

Release the tension on the rope, disconnect it from the anchor and rewind it tightly and evenly.