Most people who enjoy off-roading know the benefits of having an all-terrain vehicle. These monsters can take you through all kinds of landscapes, from rocky places to sandy plains; and can be very fun to drive. The item that most people underestimate is the winch, and its importance while off-roading.
Say you and your friends are out having fun over a muddy or sandy area and you get stuck in a ditch. Or you are traveling in a jeep with your folks, what happens when the car gets stuck in a ditch? When pushing the vehicle doesn’t do the trick, an ATV winch will come in handy.
A winch can pull a vehicle weighing three thousand pounds. This is an easier and more effective method of getting the vehicle to move, compared to having three men (knee deep in mud) push the car.
How the ATV winch works
Electric winches run on electricity from the ATV battery. They do not consume a lot of electricity because the gear system does most of the work. A small amount of power delivered by an electric motor drives a small gear, which in turn causes the bigger gear to rotate; hence pulling a much larger load.
When choosing a winch for your vehicle, it is recommended that you pick one which can handle 1.5 times the weight of your vehicle.
Preparing the winch for use
Assess the situation fully before deciding if using the winch is the best action which can be taken. If so, plan where the chains will be tied so as to pull the vehicle free of its current confines. After that, use a hand shovel to remove as many loose particles as can be removed from in front of the tires. This should be done in such a way that it creates a slope out of the ditch in the direction of the pull.
Connect the winch chain by wrapping it around a stable structure. If it is a tree, use the rubber mat around the bark to protect it from damage. Tie the chain to the lower part of the tree or rock for increased stability.
Ensure the chain is securely on the cable hook and step back from the vehicle. With the brake locked and wheels blocked, restart the ATV and allow the cable to pull you out. It should be pulled in a straight line because the cable must align itself onto the winch drum in layers.
Before pulling the vehicle, there should be three rolls of the cable on the drum. If the cable is short, you can attach the 25-foot cable which has clevis hooks.
Factors to consider when buying an ATV winch
gives you the confidence to veer into any terrain as you are assured you will make your way out- with your vehicle of course. There are many options which are available, and they may be overwhelming for a first-time shopper. The most important factors which require close attention are:
I. Rated line pull. If the winch is small, then it might be a problem when pulling you out. Conversely, if it is large, it may add on extra weight which may throw the vehicle off balance.
II. Second is the speed at which you get unstuck (line speed), and it depends on the gear train. The planetary gear system has more wheels than the worm, hence assures a faster pull. It, however, generates more heat compared to the worm which uses two gears.
III. When choosing the cable type, one can choose either steel or synthetic. Each has their advantages, and the choice depends on the terrain and weight of the vehicle.
Among the off-roading accessories, a winch is definitely a must-have. Like any other mechanical component, the winch may experience some problems such as getting stuck or the drum is not turning. These problems are easily tackled by people who have a thorough understanding of the machine. It is otherwise necessary to have your mechanic look at the state of the vehicle and the winch before you embark on your experience on the road.
There are some precautions to be taken when dealing with the winch. Step back while the winch is pulling since snapping of the cable is often accompanied by a dangerous whiplash effect. It is also important to inspect the condition of the cables after use. Worn out ropes need to be replaced.
Now you have everything you need for an amazing off-roading experience!