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Driving and Towing - Recovery Techniques

We explain how to use your 4WD recovery gear. It's essential to know safe and correct techniques before attempting to use any recovery equipment to rescue a 4WD.

ALTERNATIVE WINCHES
ALTERNATIVE WINCHES
We're checking out this pair of wheel-related alternatives to the electric winch.

The idea of using the vehicle's wheels as winches has appealed to many inventors over the years. Vehicle wheels have many times the power output of a small electric drum winch.

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ARB's HYDRAULIC HIGH-LIFT JACK
ARB's HYDRAULIC HIGH-LIFT JACK
If you can use a high-lift jack with your 4WD, this one looks good.

A high-lift jack is a very effective 4WD recovery tool - in the right hands and on the right vehicle. Using a high-lift jack on non-specific lifting points and without training can be a life-threatening experience. ARB's new hydraulic jack is said to be much safer than the traditional mechanical high-lift jack.

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ARB-TRED SAND AND MUD TRACKS
ARB-TRED SAND AND MUD TRACKS
ARB has partnered with TRED to provide spin-resistant sand and mud tracks

Composite plastic and glass-fibre-filled nylon sand and mud tracks for 4WD recovery have been developed by TRED for ARB.

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BUSH WINCH ON TEST
BUSH WINCH ON TEST
A wheel mounted alternative to the electric winch.

This hub-winch design uses two drums - one for each opposite-side wheel and can be used going forward or rearwards. Each drum attaches to a rear wheel hub, using specially-shaped wheel nuts.

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HAND WINCHING OPTIONS
HAND WINCHING OPTIONS
There's still a place for the reliable hand winch.

A hand winch can be used for vehicle recovery from virtually any stranding and using the right technique can reduce the required physical effort.

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HOW STRONG DOES YOUR SNATCH STRAP NEED TO BE
HOW STRONG DOES YOUR SNATCH STRAP NEED TO BE
Many straps are so heavy that they don't stretch properly.

We’ve been concerned for some time at the trend towards stronger and stronger snatch straps, because we felt that elasticity, not ultimate breaking strain, was the key to successful snatch strap performance. We’ve also long suspected that the loads involved in snatch strap recovery aren’t as great as most people seem to think.

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IF YOU DON'T HAVE A WINCH
IF YOU DON'T HAVE A WINCH
Some vehicles can't mount a winch, but they can still self-recover.

OTA checks out three different ways of getting your 4WD unstuck: sand ladders, Bog Outs and Trac Grabbers.

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MAJOR BUSH REPAIRS
MAJOR BUSH REPAIRS
When things go really wrong...

Here are some ideas for diagnosing major mechanical problems and making bush repairs that should get you home.

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MINOR BUSH REPAIRS
MINOR BUSH REPAIRS
Some handy hints for keeping your 4WD mobile.

For sure, you'll be out in the scrub and you'll break, bend, puncture, lock-in, or lose something. The following hints may then be helpful.

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RECOVERY GEAR
RECOVERY GEAR
One day, you'e gonna get caught...

Going bush without a recovery kit should be unthinkable, but many people don't take enough equipment.

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REPAIRING FLAT TYRES IN THE BUSH
REPAIRING FLAT TYRES IN THE BUSH
Sooner or later you'll get a flat.

The majority of bush travellers use tubeless tyres these days, so repairing them on the run is the main focus of this article; however, we’ve included a section at the end on tubed rubber.

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SAFE WINCHING
SAFE WINCHING
People can get hurt winching. Do it right!

Winching a vehicle out of a bogging can be a satisfying experience, confirming your bush self-sufficiency, or it can be a disaster. Having the right gear and using it correctly are vital to safe winching.

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SNATCH STRAP RECOVERY
SNATCH STRAP RECOVERY
This technique can go wrong very easily.

People can die or get seriously injured during snatch strap recoveries. OTA asked 4WD Off Road Driver Training’s Phil Poulter to demonstrate how to perform this operation correctly.

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SOFT SHACKLES
SOFT SHACKLES
The alternative to heavy steel shackles

​We’ve been asked by many website visitors about the viability of soft shackles in 4WD recoveries, so we’ve been testing them for the past two years.

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SPARE WHEEL HANDLING
SPARE WHEEL HANDLING
Changing a wheel shouldn't be hard work.

One day you’ll need to change a wheel and we show you some tricks that make the job less arduous.

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TOOLBOX ESSENTIALS
TOOLBOX ESSENTIALS
Pack only the tools you need.

Like many off-roaders we used to carry several toolboxes, with contents that would allow a major 4WD rebuild in the bush. However, experience over the past 30 years has taught us that we’re unlikely to do a major rebuild in the scrub.

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TRAC GRABBERS
TRAC GRABBERS
These easy-fit recovery aids are excellent

Trac Grabbers are designed to get you un-stuck when you find yourself in those wheel-spinning off-road moments.

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WIRELESS WINCH CONTROLLER
WIRELESS WINCH CONTROLLER
Look, mum - no hands!

A winch controller that doesn’t ‘tie’ you to the vehicle is more convenient and safe.

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