Whether you’re a beginner or a pro driver, a recovery strap is a valuable piece of equipment you shouldn’t ever miss to have. Since you can’t attach a winch to an on-road vehicle, a recovery strap automatically becomes a piece of valuable equipment that can get you out of a sticky situation in case things go south. But, for you to enjoy its benefits, you need to understand how to attach a recovery strap to your car’s tow hook or recovery point.
You see, a lot happens when you’re driving. Even if you’re a careful driver, there are times when accidents occur, which are not your fault. For instance, your car might skid off the road due to bad weather or poor road conditions.
In such a situation, recovering your car safely without causing any damage will demand that you use a recovery strap. So, instead of having to call a tow company to recovery your stuck vehicle, this short guide will discuss how to attach a snap strap to your vehicle to recover it.
First, What are Recovery Straps?
Now, imagine it’s your first time buying a recovery strap. Of course, you’re likely to get overwhelmed by the many terminologies you’ll hear. You’ll hear descriptions such as snatch straps, kinetic ropes, tree savers, tow straps/ropes, and winch straps among others.
Snatch straps and kinetic straps are both similar names that refer to recovery straps. Some brands will refer to them as ropes, which actually mean the same thing. However, when it comes to the physical shape, ropes are rounded while straps and flat.
About the construction, recovery straps are made from high-quality nylon fabrication that guarantees a high level of elasticity. When put under heavy load, this nylon fabric stretches between 5 – 30% of its original size depending on the width of the strap and the quality of the material used.
Speaking of width, recovery straps come in different lengths and thicknesses depending on your budget and your needs. The width can vary from 2 – 3” while the length can vary from 16”, 20” 25” to 30”. In most cases, the size you get will depend on the type of vehicle you’re recovering and the type of terrain you usually drive on.
For instance, if you mostly drive on rough terrains with many obstacles such as rocks and vegetation, you’ll definitely need a short recovery strap that will help you to avoid hitting obstacles during a recovery exercise. Conversely, if most of your driving is on-road, then a lengthier recovery strap will be ideal, as you won’t have to worry about any obstacles.
Now, stretching is an essential feature in any recovery strap. By stretching, these ropes/straps store kinetic energy from the pulling vehicle, which is then transferred to the stuck vehicle once the strap is released or disbursed.
Since recovery straps use the catapult principle, both ends of the strap have loops rather than metal hooks. This is a safety precaution that helps to avoid possible accidents that might occur if the strap raptures. Remember, in case the strap breaks accidentally, metal projectiles can fly dangerously towards you causing injuries to on-lookers in the process.
When Should You Use a Recovery Strap?
Just before we dive into our main topic, we would like to answer the question of when should you use a recovery strap. Now, most motorists, especially newcomers, confuse recovery straps with tow straps. Tow straps, as their name suggests, are specifically intended to pull a disabled vehicle from the road to a nearby garage.
They’re usually made from polyester material that has less stretch. This characteristic makes it safer to use tow straps for towing vehicles as they make the towing process uniform and less risky.
When it comes to recovery straps, these are used for vehicle recovery only. Therefore, if your vehicle is stuck in a ditch, mud, snow, or deep hole, a recovery strap is the best option you have. Once your vehicle is recovered, the work of a recovery strap ends there.
In case the vehicle is severely damaged, then you should contact a towing company to come and pick your vehicle. However, some situations might force you to bend the rules. For instance, if there’s a garage nearby, then you can use a recovery strap to tow the vehicle to safety. However, you need to observe maximum safety, in this situation, by having someone on the driver’s seat of the broken vehicle to control it.
So, How Do You Attach a Recovery Strap?
- Step One: Understand the Weight Ratings
When attaching a recovery strap to your vehicle, the first step you need to take is to understand the weight rating of the strap. The reason why this is important is that it will ensure that the recovery strap you’re using is within its working load limit.
In most cases, you should ensure that the strap you’re using is at least 3x the weight of your vehicle when it’s fully loaded. For instance, if you’re recovering a 2-door Jeep or a small SUV vehicle with a weight range of 4,000 pounds, then you’ll need a recovery strap that has a maximum load limit of (4,000 x 3) 12,000 pounds.
- Step Two: Confirm the Condition of the Strap
To confirm the condition of the strap, simply lay it flat on the ground. Make sure it’s not folded or twisted. From there, check for any cuts, knots, dents, or any breaks. Since the strap will have to stretch to its limit to recovery a vehicle, it needs to be in excellent condition to guarantee maximum safety.
- Step Three: Locate the Recovery Points
Once you’re sure about the condition of the recovery strap, the next step is to find a suitable location to attach your strap. In most cases, this can be on the D-ring attachments on your car’s bumper, receiver hitches, or frame-mounted tow hooks.
On the other hand, you should avoid attaching your recovery strap to the bumper, suspension, and steering systems. These components are delicate and can bend or break if used as recovery points.
How Do You Recover a Vehicle
- Step One: Make Yourself Visible
If you’re recovering a vehicle that’s close to a roadway, then you need something to notify oncoming motorists about the recovery process that’s ahead of them. So, here, you can start by having the hazard signals on, wearing reflective jackets, and mounting reflective safety triangles a few meters from the scene.
- Step Two: Hook the Strap on Both Vehicles
Once you’ve observed the necessary safety precaution, the next step is definitely to pull your vehicle. So, here, you’ll have to attach your recovery strap to both the recovery and the stuck vehicle. Attaching the strap to the recovery vehicle is quite easy, as you’ll have to follow the step we discussed earlier on how to locate the recovery points.
The tricky part in this entire exercise comes in when attaching the strap to the stuck vehicle. In most cases, most modern vehicles have recovery points that are hidden and quite hard to locate. Therefore, to avoid damaging your vehicle, you need to refer to your car’s manual to identify the appropriate attachment point.
- Step Three: Start Pulling
Once everything is set up, the recovery exercise should begin with the recovery vehicle moving forward slowly to straighten the strap to avoid snapping. From there, the recovery vehicle should proceed to accelerate slowly and gradually.
In the process, the driver in the stuck vehicle should put the car in gear, press the gas pedal and hold the wheel as he waits for it to jerk forward. Once the stuck vehicle is extracted successfully, both drivers should proceed to drive forward to a drivable area.
- Step Four: Inspect the Strap Once More
Once the recovery exercise is over, both drivers should dismount the strap from both vehicles. Next, clean the strap to remove any dirt, mud, and other road debris before inspecting it thoroughly for any signs of damage. Once you’re done, wrap the strap gently and put it back in its carry bag.
All in all, recovery straps are valuable tools that help you recover a stuck vehicle with little effort. In our short guide, we’ve discussed how exactly you’re supposed to use a recovery strap to recover a stuck vehicle. But, knowing how to use this recovery tool isn’t enough. You need to understand the kind of situation you’re in to determine whether a recovery strap will offer the ultimate solution.
Lastly, once you’ve recovered your vehicle, you need to ensure it’s in perfect condition to drive safely on the road. In case it’s damaged, you can either call a tow company to pick it or you can use a tow rope to tow it to the nearest garage in case it’s nearby.