Snatch Recovery - Explained

4X4

Moderator
Snatch Recovery:
A snatch recovery is where one end a snatch strap is attached to a vehicle that is either stuck in mud or has simply lost traction. The other end of the snatch strap is attached to a mobile vehicle with traction. The vehicle with traction drives off and the kinetic energy generated in the snatch strap extracts the stuck vehicle.

Recovery coordinator:
Usually, this is the Trip Leader, but it is not always possible for them to be in close proximity, depending on the terrain or the length of convoy. The Trip Leader will appoint a recovery coordinator if they are unable coordinate the snatch recovery.
First and foremost, it must be determined why the vehicle is stuck. In most cases ground clearance is usually the culprit, hanging the vehicle up on the diffs, suspension or gearbox. Do not assume this, as there may be hidden obstacles such as a tree root etc. The driver is to remain in the vehicle with the footbrake and handbrake on. The recovery coordinator will decide whether to winch or to perform a snatch recovery in forward or reverse, depending on the situation. Modern cars have plastic bash plates to protect the underneath of the car, which can act as a plough, filling up with mud and tearing off, if driven in reverse in thick sticky mud.

The mobile vehicle is positioned to allow around 2m of slack in the snatch strap, paying attention not to get bogged as well. Turn the engine off and leave in gear (manual) or park (automatic). The driver is to stay in the vehicle with the footbrake & handbrake on. The direction of both vehicles should be kept as straight as possible. It is etiquette for the stuck vehicle to provide the snatch strap. Inspect the snatch strap prior to use, as a nick of only 1cm can reduce its breaking strain by over 50%. During a snatch recovery, the snatch strap will elongate by around one metre.

All passengers from both vehicles must be moved to an area one and a half times the length of the strap, along with any other bystanders. Preferably attach the snatch strap to the left hand side recovery point of the stuck vehicle; if the snatch strap breaks it will be on the opposite side from both drivers. If bow shackles are needed to attach the snatch strap to the recovery point, use only rated shackles, 3.25 tonnes or greater. Hand tighten shackles, then back them off half a turn, this will prevent them from locking on. Lay the snatch strap on the ground in a straight line to the mobile vehicle. Loop approx 2 metres of snatch strap out to the driver’s side, in view of the driver from the stuck vehicle (the driver from the mobile vehicle will be able to see it in their side mirror). Ensure the snatch strap is not be twisted, as this concentrates the load onto a narrow area of the snatch strap.
Connect the other end of the snatch strap to the mobile vehicle recovery point. If a towbar is the only recovery point available ensure that it is securely attached to the vehicles chassis with a minimum of 4 high tensile bolts. Some light duty towbars are unsuitable for snatch recoveries as they are not designed for the high shock loadings that a snatch recovery places on them.

CAUTION - Never place a Snatch strap over a tow ball.

Remove the clip and pin from the hitch receiver, then slide the hitch receiver out. Place the eye of the snatch strap inside the box section of the towbar and insert the pin through the eye of the snatch strap. Attach the clip, the snatch strap is now “Live”
Once the snatch strap is connected at both ends it is considered “Live”. For safety, you should never walk over a live snatch strap. Snatch straps do break, and when they do, they recoil with a tremendous amount of force. There have been cases were a snatch strap with a shackle attached smashed through the rear windscreen of a car, narrowly missing the driver. To safe guard against this, it is necessary to place a damper over the middle of the snatch strap; a. blanket or similar will act as a 'parachute', if the snatch strap breaks.
At this point the recovery coordinator will double check all connections. If a hand held UHF radio is available they will use this to coordinate the recovery, otherwise they will use hand signals. The recovery coordinator will ask both drivers if they are ready, they will signal by hand, flashing their lights, CB radio etc when they are ready. The recovery coordinator will count:

On 1. Drivers will start their vehicles and place them in gear with handbrakes off.
On 2. The stuck driver will start to drive. 1st gear low range
On 3. The mobile driver will start to drive. 2nd gear low range
If for any reason, either driver wants to abort the recovery, they will sound their horn. Stop as soon as you are clear and remove the snatch strap, taking care not to run over the snatch strap. If this fails to extricate the stuck vehicle, repeat the process with slightly more speed.

NEVER join two snatch straps using a shackle as this can turn into a "missile" if either snatch straps were to break.
 
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frosty

Well-Known Member
I have seen a D shackle go through a window and take off the headrest of the passenger front seat and crack the windscreen! Very nasty! NEVER EVER join snatch straps with a projectile!! If you must join 2, loop through each other and place a stick or magazine through Knot. If the knot pulls tight, you will end up with an extra long strap with a wallnut in the middle!
 

sdollery

New Member
That's a great post. I'd only suggest that most people should leave the hitch at home and go 4WDing with just the pin and clip in. The hitch hangs behind and well below most bumpers, possibly hanging up the 4by at the back, causing vehicle and track damage. And I think it may be illegal to leave them in unless you're towing anyway.

BTW the best joiner for snatch straps is 3 pieces of 25mm conduit (or broom handles) cut into 300mm lengths. Bundle these & zip tie together. The shape allows you to get a finger in to pull apart the straps.
 
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frosty

Well-Known Member
They're only illegal if they cover you're number plate. I have an old hitch with a recovery hook on it instead of a tow ball. (Yes, rated hook, grade 8 bolts. etc. etc.) You can buy a flash hitch with a D-shackle attached to the hitch. Not cheap though.
 

frosty

Well-Known Member
That's a great post. I'd only suggest that most people should leave the hitch at home and go 4WDing with just the pin and clip in. The hitch hangs behind and well below most bumpers, possibly hanging up the 4by at the back, causing vehicle and track damage. And I think it may be illegal to leave them in unless you're towing anyway.

BTW the best joiner for snatch straps is 3 pieces of 25mm conduit (or broom handles) cut into 300mm lengths. Bundle these & zip tie together. The shape allows you to get a finger in to pull apart the straps.

A copy 4x4 action works well. Take an old copy. I used a new one once before I read it! DOPE!!
 

phs

Well-Known Member
thats some really good info.
any one got any tips on good safe use on hand winchs ?
im going out this weekend with an ARB recovery kit and a hand winch. iv used my recovery kit, no probs there , hand winch is no probs to use just dunno the safe'st way to link it up to my winch extention strap ? or how to link the back of the winch to a tree safely ?

i would think my tree truck protecter around the tree to a shackle to the winch then the winch cable to the winch extention useing the cable hook then the strap to the car with a shackle ?
 

sdollery

New Member
Don't know about a hand winch. I'd check the instructions on the hand winch. Use rated shackles and good quality straps.
 

BEK

4x4 Earth Contributer
And of course if you using someone elses snatch strap to get your car out, and it breaks, be prepared to pay for it.
 

Grumpy

Moderator
My Philosophy is Don't borrow something if your not prepared to return it in the same condition it was lent to you.
 

phs

Well-Known Member
i get it, lend alll your really old straps, to people stuck so you can update with new ones for free......

just jokeing i know what it feels like i had a new strap i had used once left at a car wash, by the mrs brother cause after i washed it he rolled it up and put it around the corner, i thought he put it in the back of the car , found out as i was dropping him off , when i asked if he put it in the bag or but the floor , then drove back yarra glen and it was gone. it sucks loseing a strap
 

grit

Member
Times I have hand winched its -

Trunk protector to winch pin with shackle
winch hook to tow strap (no shackle)
tow strap to vehicle recovery point with shackle
damper placed approx. centre vehicle to winch​

If an extension tow strap is needed - rolled up mag in loop.
 

myg600

New Member
They're only illegal if they cover you're number plate. I have an old hitch with a recovery hook on it instead of a tow ball. (Yes, rated hook, grade 8 bolts. etc. etc.) You can buy a flash hitch with a D-shackle attached to the hitch. Not cheap though.

a pintle hitch is far stronger at 8000lbs than a pin through your towbar hitch
 

sellis34

New Member
no rear recovery hook

Some unfortunate people have a 4x4 without a towbar or a rated hook on the back. What are the best options? I have used the rear suspension shackles on a couple of easy recoveries, but am not sure if these would hold up if the vehicle was badly stuck - especially on some of the smaller vehicles (Suzies etc). Does anyone have experience with snatching using the rear suspension shackles (leaf springs)?

cheers
sam
 

gdog

Member
ooohhh careful who you listen to on this one. I wouldn't do it. You risk at bending something. If your doing offroad stuff, you can get some load rated hook points to fitted to the chassis quite cheaply.

I recommend a bar to you though
 

frosty

Well-Known Member
ooohhh careful who you listen to on this one. I wouldn't do it. You risk at bending something. If your doing offroad stuff, you can get some load rated hook points to fitted to the chassis quite cheaply.

I recommend a bar to you though

mmmm. I agree. maybe a light tug, that would be about it! Rated tow hooks are very cheap and easy to install. Always hi-tensile bolts though!! :eek:
 

Jezz

New Member
thats some really good info.
any one got any tips on good safe use on hand winchs ?
im going out this weekend with an ARB recovery kit and a hand winch. iv used my recovery kit, no probs there , hand winch is no probs to use just dunno the safe'st way to link it up to my winch extention strap ? or how to link the back of the winch to a tree safely ?

i would think my tree truck protecter around the tree to a shackle to the winch then the winch cable to the winch extention useing the cable hook then the strap to the car with a shackle ?

When using any type of hook as is what I imagine is on each end of the cable for your hand winch (or the hook on an electric winch for that matter) alway ensure the 'open' end of the hook is facing up, this helps with two things, first when the slack is taken up there is less chance of just pulling the loop off the hook second and more important if the hook was to bend or break under load it will/should go towards the ground reducing it's travel
I guess those are obvious reasons but I haven't seen them in a thread yet
 
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