Snatch Strap Recovery.

Using a Snatch Strap for snatching a vehicle out is one of the fastest ways to recover a vehicle, because of the speed and sudden forces involved there is less control on the recovery if something goes wrong.

Both 4WD,s must be fitted with rated recovery points in order to use the strap safely.

How The Recovery Works:

Kinetic energy! Like a strong rubber band once at maximum stretch it will retract (or break if worn or pushed past its load limit).

The recovery vehicle will usually have the strap attached to the rear on a rated recovery tow hitch (NOT THE TOW BALL). The bogged 4x4 will be attached with the other end of the strap, lest assume the bogged 4x4 is being pulled forward meaning the strap will be attached to a front recovery point.

The recovery vehicle will now reverse back towards the bogged 4x4 as close to within 5 meters, when both parties are ready (being ready means the bogged 4x4 is out of gear or in gear with wheels slowly turning and the hand brake is off!) using the CB radio or car horn signals previously agreed on.

The recovery vehicle can now start snatching the bogged 4wd out.

Getting ready to snatch.

Getting ready to snatch.

Ten steps to general snatch strap recoveries (some situations require a different method,
however this "general" method will do for most snatch recoveries)

Step 1: Asses how stuck the bogged 4WD is

Step 2: Clear any sand, rocks or whatever is in front of the bogged vehicle (that can be moved) to assist in recovering and reducing stress to the snatch strap

Step 3: Recovery vehicle to move into position (depending on how stuck the bogged 4WD is the run up and speed will vary)

Step 4: Attach the snatch strap to RATED recovery points to both 4 wheel drives

Step 5: Both drivers need to agree on signals (with car horns) or use the CB radios if available.

Step 6: Have someone keeping an eye on the recovery from outside the vehicles, this way someone can to stop the recovery if something's not quite right.

Step 7: The bogged 4x4 needs to prepare and make sure the hand brake is off

Step 8: Make sure no one is within the radius of the snatch strap length (if snatch is 9m long keep a ten meter minimum distance from both vehicles and stand behind something when possible)

Step 9: Now that everyone is ready the bogged vehicle needs to let the recovery vehicle know when to proceed, the bogged vehicle will now start to spin the wheels just before the recovery vehicle attempts to snatch the bogged 4WD out.

Step 10: If not out, check what's going on, double check no one has the hand brake on and repeat steps 8 & 9 adjusting force, speed and run up until the bogged 4x4 is out.

Experienced people with snatch strap recoveries will have a general idea of how much force is required judging by the situation they are in.

For beginners it is quite surprising how powerful a strap is, if a large vehicle is snatching a small 4x4 a much less force/run up and speed is required. The other way around is very different as you might have already have guessed, small vehicle recovering a large vehicle (small Suzuki recovering a large Nissan patrol) will require a good run up with some speed.

Snatching the 4x4 out of the mud.

Snatching the 4x4 out of the mud.

What if we only have the tow ball and no other recovery points?

DO NOT USE THE TOW BALL, people have died from doing this!!!

What can be done if you absolutely have no other choice is to use a tree trunk protector and wrap it around the rear bar (the factory rear bar which is part of the chassis) which the tow hitch is attached to.

Very easy to do on tray backs and can only really work if pulling directly back.

Pulling from and angle could damage the bogged vehicle as the wrapped tree trunk protector may slide suddenly!

Other general safety tips:

Never try to detach a strap under tension.

Never step over a snatch strap under tension and never go near one.

If walking across a strap attached to a vehicle (which is not under tension), step on the actual strap. You'd rather get thrown than getting groin alterations if someone all the sudden decides to begin the recovery while you are crossing the straps.

Only use the minimal amount of shackles and attachments required, if something was to go wrong there are less metal objects flying about.

Check the straps before and after using them, snatch straps can have a very long life if used right. However if any sign of wear cut it up and  throw it out.

The straps store energy and should only be used 3 times in a row as they weaken and will be easy to break, a 24 hour rest will bring the snatch-strap back to optimal strength.  

Use a blanket, jacket or winch damper over the strap before under tension. This will force the strap to the ground if it breaks and will help to slow any flying metal objects "if" something was to go wrong or give way.

Maintaining the recovery gear:

Mud and UV sun light damages straps. Wash after mud recoveries and don't dry them in the sun light.

When using D shackles tighten them all the way and then loosen back by half a turn. This prevents the shackle from seizing up/shut while under the heavy forces.

Recovery kit:

General kit should have the following:
1 snatch-strap, 2 D shackles and a winch damper (towel, jacket or blanket)

Advanced kit:
2 snatch straps, 3 D shackles, extension strap and winch damper (towel, jacket or blanket.

Only combine snatch straps and extension straps if your experienced.


See our 4WD recovery videos showing you how to use recovery gear in the correct and safe way.

These video are part of our mini series currently being filmed and expanded so subscribe on YouTube or check back here at this link for new content.

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