At some point we’ll all get hug up, stuck or be asked to assist some one that is, which is why adding a winch to our ATV/UTV is always a nice accessory to have. Using an ATV/UTV is not rocket science, however there are some techniques and safety precautions everyone should know!
1. Always read the winches operators manual. Different brands of some winches may have different operating instructions, functions, and safety precautions!
2. Find yourself a good anchor point such as a tree or tree stump when winching your self out. Try to pick a point as best you can that’s inline with the direction your front tires are pointing.
3. Its always best to use a tree strap/tree protector with shackles/D-ring or a snatch block. You should never just wrap your cable around a tree or what ever your anchor point is and hook it straight back to your cable. This can cause damage to the cable and possibly your cable to break over time if you continue to place the hook straight to the cable. That’s metal to metal which can cause the individual wires in the cable to begin to break and fray.
4. Gloves are always good to have with you as well to prevent cuts and abrasions on your hands and arms. If your winch came with a short piece of strap placed on the hook it’s best to use it when grabbing the end and extending out the cable.
5. Always , and I mean always make sure that anyone else that’s around or near by is clear from the cable. Good rule of thumb is that everyone stay’s the same distance away as the length of cable you have extended from the winch. This is in case the cable was to break and snap back. This can cause serious injury and yes even death! A good accessory for this is a line damper that can be placed over the cable somewhere around the middle. This will help to dampen the recoil of your cable should it break/snap. (A line damper is a small section of weighted strapping similar to ankle weights). A heavy coat, jacket. or anything similar can also be used.
6. Keep an eye on the cable when winching out that the cable winds evenly back and forth across the spool so it doesn’t jam up and cause the winch motor to burn up. If your cable isn’t lined up with well enough with your anchor point the be sure to turn your wheels as best you can in the same direction. This will make it less stressful on the winch motor when it pulling you out.
7. Make sure it’s is in neutral before you start winching. If you can get any traction at all then you may be able to put it in gear and gas it some to make it a little easier on the winch motor.
After your safely out and at a stable position put everything away that you’ve used to get the job done and easily winch back in the rest of your cable, making sure that it continues to wind up evenly onto the winch spool.