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4×4 Recovery Mistakes to Avoid

Photo by undefined undefined via iStock

Needing to recover your vehicle (or your mate’s) isn’t a question of if, but when.

No matter how hard you try to avoid getting stuck, you will be at some point, which means you need to understand how to recover a vehicle (as well as know what recovery gear will come in handy).

Additionally, you need to know what not to do – what 4×4 recovery mistakes you need to avoid. And that, my friends, is precisely what this article is all about!

Starting at Full Speed

Jeep stuck in deep mud

“Trolling” by rvcroffi is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Recovering a vehicle that’s stuck requires an approach of finesse, not brute power…

You need to start slowly and then increase power – gradually of course – if you can’t get the vehicle out of its jam on the first try.

The problem with starting at full speed (well, one of many problems…) is that you add so much stress on all the pieces and parts of both vehicles that it runs the risk of causing damage. You might then find that you have one vehicle stuck and a broken rescue vehicle right next to it!

4×4 Recovery Mistakes: Using a Shackle to Join Snatch Straps

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Snatch straps are one of the best recovery tools you can have in your rig. And while you can get them in all sorts of lengths, sometimes one just won’t suffice, which means you’ll need to connect two of them together.

While it might seem like a good idea to use a shackle (like the one shown above) to join snatch straps together – a shackle is a beefy, durable component – it’s actually a terrible mistake to do so.

However, since snatch straps are supremely strong, the shackle would be the weak link in the chain. If the shackle were to break, it could become an airborne projectile and hit something, causing damage, or worse, hit someone and cause an injury. Now, don’t get me wrong – shackles are an incredibly important and valuable component of your recovery gear. They just shouldn’t be used in this manner.

So, if you need to join two snatch straps together, do so by tying them together with a strong knot. It’s much safer to do so than to use a shackle.

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Making Silly Mistakes

Stuck SUV behind a shovel

Photo by undefined undefined via iStock

There are loads of silly mistakes you should avoid when recovering a 4×4.

For example, don’t use recovery equipment that isn’t specifically meant for your vehicle. Instead, source proper recovery gear for your specific make and model of vehicle, that way you’re sure you have what you need when you get stuck.

A related point is to never head out on an off-road or overlanding adventure without a good shovel. Granted, there is a lot of gear you need to bring with you, but a shovel is a basic, must-have for getting your rig out of mud or sand. A little digging goes a long way in making recovery of your vehicle an easier task.

Another silly mistake to avoid is simply having the correct tire pressure from the get-go. If you’re heading to the dunes, deflate your tires before you hit the sand so help avoid getting stuck in the first place. If you forget to do so, try deflating your tires before you go through the process of recovery. You might find that doing so is all you need to get out of the jam you’re in.

4×4 Recovery Mistakes: Standing By the Vehicle

4x4 Recovery Mistakes Man Standing By the Vehicle

“Knee deep goo” by Tjflex2 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A cardinal sin when making a 4×4 recovery is standing next to the vehicle that’s stuck.

There are too many variables and too many things that could go wrong to make it safe to stand right next to the rig that needs help. Instead, back up a few yards so you’re out of the way of any recovery gear that might break and fly through the air at any moment.

The same goes for other people in your group. Everyone involved in the recovery effort must keep their distance to ensure everyone’s safety.

I know this seems like the simplest of tasks, but you’d be surprised how many people make this and other 4×4 recovery mistakes on the daily when out on the trail.

Don’t be the guy that makes things even worse when trying to recover a vehicle. Use common sense, follow these guidelines, and insist that others in your party follow these guidelines as well.

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