Do I really need… part 10 – Snatch Straps
Snatch straps are one of the most essential bits of 4WD recovery equipment available today. A good snatch strap lets you connect two vehicles so that one one can pull the other one out without too much fuss.
Snatch straps can also be dangerous when not used correctly. There’s a huge amount of kinetic energy stored in a snatch strap that’s under load, and that energy has to go somewhere. If the stuck vehicle doesn’t move, it’s transferred back into the tow vehicle. If the strap or a shackle breaks, that energy goes directly into that gear flying the other way.
So remember the safety points:
- Make sure that your snatch strap is rated and conforms to the relevant Australian Standard. Each snatch strap will have a tag on it with the standards and testing information.
- Make sure that your snatch strap is right for your vehicle. Don’t get a 20,000kg strap to pull out a Suzuki Jimny!
- Make sure that your shackles and other connections are all rated, ideally at a higher rating than the strap is.
- Only connect the snatch strap to a rated recovery point. No other points, no matter what!
One big thing to remember is that snatch straps should always be kept clean and dry. Dirt can easily work it’s way into the fibres of the strap, and dirt inside the fibres acts like a cutting blade and will cut the strap from the inside out over time, and it doesn’t take as long as you’d think! Any time you use your strap remember to give it a good clean when you get home. To clean a snatch strap you should use water with only, and then hand-wash with a mild detergent. You can clean them in a washing machine as long as you use a very gentle cold water cycle, again with only a mild detergent.
So should you have a snatch strap? Yes. Every 4WD’er should carry at lest one snatch strap with a set of rated shackles. And remember – if you’re stuck, use your gear! There’s nothing worse than helping out someone that’s stuck without their own gear and your gear gets broken. You don’t want that to happen to you, so carry your own gear so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.