Having a winch can be a great and very useful addition to your rig whether you need to get yourself out of a jam or help a friend. As easy as it may seem to operate a winch there should always be a checklist you follow to ensure no one gets hurt. there are different options out there for winches, there is synthetic rope and steel cable both require you attentive care. If you’re using steel cable it has its benefits. It is strong, abrasion resistant, and mostly unaffected by sunlight and weather exposure. On the downside, it is heavy, prone to harmful kinking, and a serious danger should the cable snap or come loose while under tension. A tip to operate a steel cable safely is to place some type of weight across the middle of a steel cable when in use. This way if it does snap the weight will drive the wire down in a safe direction. Synthetic winch rope It’s much lighter and far safer than steel cable. However, it can age with UV exposure. It’s true one should avoid scrapping it across rocks or other abrasive surfaces, but we’ve found the rope to be long-lasting with reasonable care and use of a protective sheath where needed. However, do remember to avoid heat damage to synthetic rope.
Most winch safety focuses on the cable and attachments, and making sure everything stays connected. However, it’s good to note that careful installation and periodic maintenance of electrical connections is important as well. We’ve seen instances of stuck solenoids and know of one instance where a winch solenoid stuck on while the winch was pulling in cable and the motor would not shut off. It took a hasty battery disconnect to prevent what could have been the untimely destruction of a winch or serious vehicle damage. Take note of aged, corroded wires and connections, or aging solenoids that could act up.
Now that you have a winch its important not only to have it operating as it should but to also be aware of your surroundings. Here are some things to take into consideration when using your winch:
1. Make sure the area around the cable is clear of people. If the wire snaps it could cut you in half.
2. Make sure the vehicle you are winching has all safety precautions in place. Example: If you’re flipping a rig back on to its wheels make sure the E brake is engaged. This will make sure the car does not roll away after its back on its wheels.
3. Make sure no one is directly behind or in front of either the vehicle at the time.
4. Pick one person to help spot the moving vehicle. This is so there is no confusion when giving or taking directions.
5.Always keep hands clear of wire rope, hook loop, hook and fairlead opening during installation, operation, and when spooling in or out.
6.Never exceed winch or wire rope rated capacity. Double line using a snatch block to reduce winch load.
7.Always take your time when rigging for a winch pull.
8.Always wear heavy leather gloves when handling a wire rope.
9.Never let wire rope slip through your hands.
10.Never use winch to secure a load during transport.
These are just 10 of the many things you need to watch out for when using your winch.
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