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Some simple safety advice for using your tow truck winch

Installing a tow winch on your truck means you have a valuable tool for getting yourself, or another vehicle, out of a sticky situation — for example, if it has got stuck in mud or other difficult terrains. However, it is important that you use the winch safely. Here are some tips for the safe use of your tow winch.

Wear gloves

Firstly, never attempt to use the tow winch without wearing gloves. The winch uses steel cable to pull the vehicle, and this can be very sharp — especially if it has begun to fray. Only a tiny sliver of the frayed cable is necessary to cause a nasty injury to your hands. It is also possible for other sharp objects to get stuck in the spool. Wear thick heavy-duty gloves, and keep your hands away from the cable while it is spooling or unravelling.

Use short bursts

A second thing to remember is not to use the winch for long periods at a time. It is much better to winch in short bursts rather than try to finish a long job in one go. Putting too much pressure on the winch can cause it to overheat. This could make it cut out and could be a fire hazard. It can also flatten your vehicle's battery.

Keep the anchor stationary

A third thing to avoid is moving your vehicle while trying to winch something else. If you are pulling a second vehicle out of mud, for example, you will need to keep the winch stationary, no matter how tempting it might be to start the engine and pull away. This can damage the winch's drivetrain and brakes, both of which are essential to its safe functioning. Make sure your vehicle is stationary and fully secured in this situation.

Use a tree saver

The last piece of advice is to use a tree saver when winching your own vehicle. This is a large heavy-duty strap that you can wrap around a tree or other object and then connect to your winch hook. Winches can easily destroy trees by cutting too far into them, and the winch line itself can become damaged, particularly if you have tied it around a rock. Tree savers both stop you from causing damage and also protect your winch from fraying.

Tow winches are invaluable as long as you use them correctly and safely. Just talk to a supplier for further advice about tow truck winches