For Jeep owners that like to travel off-road, a winch is an excellent tool to have with them on the trail. A winch is useful for many different tasks when you are off-road with friends or by yourself. But you need to ensure you use the winch safely. Taking the right steps and practicing winch safety is critical to keeping everyone out of danger.
Mount the Winch
The first thing you need to consider is if the winch should be on the front or the back of the Jeep. Some mounts use a receiver on the front and the back end of the Jeep to allow moving the winch to either position. In either case, the winch must be mounted to the frame so that it will be strong enough to handle whatever you throw at it.
Follow the mounting instructions that come with the winch so it is secure and reliable. If you are not comfortable mounting it, you can have it professionally installed.
Carry Essential Winch Accessories
Mounting the winch on your Jeep is not enough by itself. You must carry some accessories with you that make the winch easier to use. While you do not need a lot of things, some tools and parts are necessary to make using your winch easier and safer.
The winch weight is a bag filled with sand or lead shot. The bag is placed over the winch rope when you are pulling with it so that, if the winch rope breaks, it falls safely to the ground. Unweighted winch ropes can whip around when they break, which could injure the operator or a bystander. Using the weight on the winch rope every time is important and should not be taken for granted.
A tree saver is a short nylon strap used to wrap around a tree to avoid damage to the bark or tree. Most of the time, a tree saver is used to create an anchor point for the Jeep so that the winch can be used to pull another vehicle. Tree savers range in length from 6 to 12 feet and attach to a shackle point on the Jeep. Once the Jeep is secure, the winch can be spooled out and connected to the item you need to move.
A good pair of leather utility gloves is essential to protect your hands while handling the winch rope, straps, rocks, brush, or branches. They should be good quality leather gloves that will protect your hands while working with the winch and tools.
Protect the Glass
A trick offroaders use often is to open the hood of the jeep when they are using the winch. If the winch rope snaps and whips back to the Jeep, it can break the glass. The open hood will protect the glass from an impact with the steel winch rope and keep you from having to replace a windshield.
Anytime you are going to use the winch on your Jeep, it is crucial to clear anyone out of the area that does not need to be there. A winch exerts a considerable amount of force on the vehicle, the winch rope, and the hardware used to attach the winch.If something breaks and people are nearby, someone could get hurt badly. The rule of thumb is don't get too close unless you are operating the winch.
The operator should be off to one side of the Jeep as well. Use the Jeep as a shield in case something goes wrong, and be ready to move quickly. Using your head and always thinking about safety will keep you and your companions safe, but never assume what you are doing is safe enough. Check everything twice before you start pulling and be vigilant.
Topper World has some of the best accessories for your Jeep, including winches and winch accessories. Stop by the showroom and talk to our staff for help picking out the right winch for your needs.