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Best tow strap 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated January 1, 2020
Best tow strap of 2018
Below you can find 3 reviews of the best tow strap to buy in 2018, which I have picked after the deep market research. Before you spend your money on tow strap, start by familiarizing yourself with the various types. If you’re reading this, it is very likely that you’re scouting for the best tow strap. Come with me.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this tow strap win the first place?
I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable.
Why did this tow strap come in second place?
The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money.
№3 – Recovery Tow Strap 10K/30K LBS Breaking Capacity Heavy Duty Vehicle Towing Winch Snatch Strap Car Emergency Rope With Reinforced Looped Ends Highly Strong & Durable Off Road Tree Saver 20 Feet
Why did this tow strap take third place?
This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.
tow strap Buyer’s Guide
This factor will not be an issue at all if you are using it for rescuing a disabled vehicle. However, the right length must be chosen if you are using the tow strap for recreational activities such as wakeboarding. Based on the products that will be presented in the next section, all of them possess the appropriate length that will enable a rescuing vehicle to pull the disabled one.
Hook and handle
The hooks and handles are considered very important parts of the tow strap. These are the components you attach to the rescuing vehicle and the disabled vehicle. In choosing the best tow strap, the hooks and handles should be strong and sturdy. They should not break easily as it is not safe and may cause vehicular accidents. To add, the materials should be made from high quality materials that will be able to provide outstanding performance.
Typically water ski ropes are made from polypropylene that will stretch 2-3% of its length under normal conditions.
Water ski ropes require a slight bit of elasticity that can provide give as the skier changes his or her speed and goes from one turn to the next.
The construction of a no-stretch rope is made from material called Spectra.
Spectra Rope is an extremely durable material with practically no elasticity. Meaning that a no-stretch rope will do just that. It will not stretch, making ideal for use in wakeboarding.
The construction of a low stretch rope is generally composed of polyethylene or polyethylene blend material.
If you’re a kneeboarder who primarily works on honing your skills performing tricks, a no-stretch Spectra rope is best.
For those who enjoy both waterskiing and recreational kneeboarding, low-stretch ropes will be the best rope choice. Low-stretch ropes provide enough elasticity for recreational waterskiing, while maintaining enough stiffness for kneeboarders riding for recreational purpose.
Just as rope type differs between kneeboarding and waterskiing, so do kneeboarding handles.
Kneeboard handles are more specialized; offering more features aimed at making tricks and aerials easier.
Kneeboard handles tend to have a wider grip than waterskiing handles. Ranging from 13-1(in) in width. By comparison, water skiing handles typically measure 11-1(in) wide.
Wider grips help riders when performing tricks because of the necessity to pass the handle behind the back.
Kneeboarding handles will have features that make spin tricks easier. Often in the form of a rope braid or second smaller handle grip built into the rope.
Kneeboarding handles commonly have a neoprene foam float that makes them float.
Bear in mind that the rope that you use for water ski ropes is not designed with tubing in mind. Tow ropes, or tube ropes, are specifically designed with higher break strengths and less stretch than a standard water ski rope. Tube ropes are recommended by the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA) and designed with the number riders being pulled in mind. Basically, a two person tube rope for a towable designed for two people, a three person tube rope for a three person towable and so on. Note: Never pull a multi-rider towable with a rope that is not recommended for the size of the tube, regardless of the number of people you have on board. *Note: Check with the manufacturer of your specific towable product for tow rope specifications. The specifications outlined above are meant to be a guideline ONLY and are recommendations of the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA).
Wakesurf ropes are going to be much shorter, under 2feet, to accommodate a wakesurfer being pulled much slower. A shorter rope gets the user closer to the boat right where the sweet spot of the wake is going to be at the lower speed.
The elasticity the best recovery straps produce also allows the towing vehicle to gain momentum. This means that it is easier for the vehicle to pull out another without being pulled down itself. When the vehicle gains momentum, it is able to acquire higher pulling force. With this straps you will not be stuck in any mess for hours.
Easier to use
Other ropes make it such that the pulling vehicle starts feeling the weight from the vehicle being pulled before the job is done. Best recovery straps make it easier to tow a vehicle that is stuck in loose terrain such as sand. When the vehicle begins accelerating, it will not feel the weight of the other car right away.
Choosing the right recovery straps
There as so many recovery straps in the industry today. There are so many brands on the market that claim to be producing the best recovery straps. To make your search easier, there are several things you have to consider to ensure you actually choose the best recovery trap.
It has reinforced loop ends for maximum durability and strength especially when working. The former issues you hard about weather and other things that maybe made towing impossible are things of the past once you set your hands on this strap. The polyester material is durable and will not tear or rot even on the extreme condition. It’s also resistant to weather and abrasion therefore making it convenient for all time use.
The right recovery strap and how to use it can make the difference between pulling your vehicle safely or if you need to wait for a truck to do the job for you.
If you know how to use a tow strap, you will not be worried when, by any chance, you get stuck along the way. Make sure that, the strap you have is high quality and you know how to use it correctly.
Many people have been killed and others injured due to the main reason for using the strap incorrectly. The strap because it is meant for towing and not recovering, will not stretch while in use.
Tips To Using Tow Straps
1. Before you decide that you want to use it, make sure that it is in good condition with no broken stitching, no frays, and no cuts.
2. You can wrap the strap around a hitch, but avoid putting it into the hitch. I have friends who have tried to bend the pin, and the end results have been cutting it out. It is advisable that you get the D-Ring adaptor or a tow hook which will then be used to go into the hitch.
3. Make sure that, the hardware in use is free from rust and defects. Check out the front hitch or tow hooks, and the hardware on the other vehicle. You should place the tow strap to the rear of the towing vehicle which is the safest just in case the strap breaks.
4. Don’t try to attach a tow strap to a vehicle bumper, steering rods, suspension, axles, or a trailer hitch ball. Make sure that the attach points are a secure place on the vehicle frame. Avoid placing the to strap on another vehicle in a way that it may be cut.
5. In case while towing the strap breaks, you should lay a tarp on top of the recovery strap. In most cases when the strap breaks, the tarp will slow down before hitting someone.
6. Never try to attach a tow strap to another vehicle with a knot. The best way to do is to pass one end of the strap through the loop at the other end of the strap to secure it.
7. To avoid the tow strap from faster wear and tear, make sure all large rocks and logs are out of the way with everyone around standing clear of the tow strap when in use.
8. Once the vehicle moved safely, make sure to inspect the tow strap to be sure that it is in good shape for use next time, otherwise, do a replacement.
10. Make sure that you read the instruction which comes with your type of strap. It should be stored away from sunlight and heat, and make sure you keep it clean all the time because, dirt damages the fibers over time, thus decreasing the strength.
Attaching The Hook To The Pulling Car
Check the rear of the vehicle as most of them have a solid mounting point which is usually attached to the mounting bumper points or nearby.
In case you have a trailer hitch, just check, you will be able to see steel loops for mounting a hook. Make sure you attach the hook firmly to one of the most secure places.
After securely fixing the hook to the pulling car, it is time now to hook the other end to the pulling car. Check out for a strong steel loop which should mount beneath the bumper. Some tow hooks, cover with a plastic cover.
If you have a manual, you can go through it to make sure that you are doing the right thing.
Using The Tow Strap To Pull The Car
With both vehicles being controlled by a driver, the pulling vehicle should slowly creep forward until the tow strap tight. Never be in a hurry to start; once the strap is tight, you can now begin to pull the vehicle in slow and nice movements. Any jerky movements will cause damage to the car and the tow strap.
HOW TO SELECT YOUR TOW ROPE
1” diameter kinetic recovery rope. A Viking Offroad ¾” recovery rope has a minimum breaking strength (MBS) of about 19,000lbs. The 1” recovery ropes have an MBS of 33,500lbs.
2:ratio between the MBS of your tow rope and the weight of your vehicle. For those heavier vehicles, you’ll want a one-inch tow rope. For example, a Humvee weighs about 14,000lbs, 14,000 x = 28,000. The 1” tow rope’s 33,500lb. MBS is a lot more suitable for a Humvee than the ¾” tow rope’s 19,000lb. MBS.
Three-quarter-inch recovery ropes are the right choice for most 4×4’s and SUV’s like Jeep Wranglers and Cherokees, Toyota pickups, FJ Cruisers, Land Cruisers, Land Rovers, and lighter full-sized pick-ups etc.” The MBS to vehicle weight ratio here should be more like a 3:ratio. Say you have an FJ Cruiser. For the purpose of this example, let’s say that FJ Cruiser weighs 4,800lbs. So 4,800 x = 14,400. You’re more in the ballpark with a ¾” tow rope and its 19,000lb. MBS than you are with a 1” tow rope’s 33,500lb. MBS. In this instance, the ¾” tow rope is a good match for use with the FJ.
Articles & How-To’s
While the terms recovery strap and tow strap are often used interchangeably, a tow strap and a recovery strap can be very different and are usually used for different purposes.
Recovery strap -Made of nylon for a higher stretch value.
Tow strap -Generally made of polyester with very little to no stretch value. -Usually has a hook on each end. -Should not be used for recovering a vehicle because of the lack of stretch increases the chances that the strap could snap.
Variations in our tow / recovery straps also include the number of plies- from to 4- so you an get the strength you need in the width you want (a narrow strap can be made stronger with additional plies).
Tongue Weight Matters
Tongue weight should always be between and 1percent of the total boat-and-trailer package (gross towing weight, or GTW, which is the GCVW minus the tow vehicle’s weight). If it is outside of these parameters, trailer sway is a distinct—and dangerous—possibility.
You’ll also have to take hitch ball size into consideration. Generally speaking, you can simply match the trailer hitch with the ball hitch you buy for your tow vehicle; trailer boaters with multiple boats usually choose a “receiver” hitch, which allows you to quickly and easily swap out different size hitches for different trailers.
How to Hitch Your Trailer to Your Vehicle
With a tow vehicle and a trailer boat sitting in your driveway, the next step is figuring out how to put the two together. Watch How to Safely Hitch a Boat Trailer, and you’ll soon be ready to roll down the road. Please, watch it before you try actually towing. There are a lot of specifics to remember, and you don’t want to miss anything before you hit the highway.
Launching your trailer is easy if you follow a few step by step instructions.
Hauling your boat out of the water is essentially performing the launching operation in reverse. But there are a few important items to bear in mind.
First off, when you back the trailer down, be sure not to go too far. If you do, the bow of the boat may float right over and off the trailer. Though it varies from rig to rig, submerging one half to three-quarters of the trailer is usually about right.
Though different rigs vary (and yes, this powercat certainly makes for an unusual rig), when you dunk the trailer for retrieval the front portion of the bunks or rollers should always be exposed, so the bow of the boat doesn’t drift off to either side.
It always takes a bit of common sense and flexibility to determine the best way to get the boat onto the trailer, on any given day at any given ramp. But whenever you use the boat’s powerplant(s) to push it onto the trailer, make sure the boat is properly aligned—and apply that power judiciously. This isn’t a race, and this isn’t the time for haste. A word of warning: before applying any power, always make sure the steering wheel is centered. Otherwise, you’ll drive the boat right out of alignment.
Ready for some more advanced info? Then it’s time to watch Tips for Launching and Retrieving a Trailer Boat. And if you’re new to boating in general, now’s a good time to watch How to Dock a Powerboat, too. After all, you’ll probably need to dock the boat before you load it onto the trailer and pull it out of the water.
When you do pull the boat out of the water, remember: don’t stop right there on the ramp. Good trailer-boating etiquette dictates you should always strive to block the launch facility as briefly as possible, so pull up into the parking lot or off the side of the road before you begin preparing for the drive home.
Basic Trailer Maintenance
Lots of moving parts on a boat trailer means there will be some maintenance to keep up with.
Whew! We’ve covered quite a bit of ground here, and at this point you should be more or less ready to hit the road and get on with your trailer boating adventures. But of course, there is some extra work involved in boat towing. And one biggie is the fact that you now have another vehicle to maintain. No, the trailer doesn’t have an engine of its own, but it is part of your rolling stock, and you’ll need to keep it in tip-top shape to ensure trouble-free trailering.
Just like a car or a boat, every part of a trailer needs regular maintenance or it can deteriorate and fail. If you’re a saltwater boater, the first and most important maintenance chore is giving the trailer a thorough rinse, as soon as possible after pulling it out of the brine. Some common problem spots that should get an extra dose of the fresh stuff include the brakes, wheels and lug nuts, lights, the license plate (yes, that will corrode too), and anywhere there’s a nut, bolt, or screw you hope to be able to spin free one day. Don’t forget to rinse the inside of the trailer frame too.
Wheel bearings are an item to constantly watch. Always touch them after long drives, to feel if they’re hot. If they heat up enough to be uncomfortable to the touch, they need to be serviced by a pro. TIP: never submerge a warm wheel bearing. It’ll draw in cool water, displacing the grease, and fail very soon thereafter.
Even if you leave bearing service to a mechanic, you should still give them a visual inspection and a shot of grease a couple times a season or every few thousand miles. But different manufacturers have different specifications, and tire size has an effect on bearing wear (small tires spin more quickly than large ones, when traveling down the road at the same speed). So your best bet is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Another common maintenance issue is trailer tires. Maintaining proper inflation can be tough, since trailers tend to sit for long periods of time (and go through significant temperature swings, which affect tire pressure) between uses. As far as tread goes, follow the same rule of thumb as you would with automotive tires. They should have at least 2/32″ of tread depth, which can be measured with a penny. Hold it with Abe Lincoln’s head upside-down and facing you, slide the penny into the tread, and if it’s deep enough to touch Abe’s head, you still have enough tread depth to hit the road.
Some other parts of the trailer that need regular visual inspections include the jack stand, the hitch, brake fluid level, and the winch and strap or cable. Then, of course, there are the lights. We trailer boaters love to hate trailer lights. They fail on a frustratingly regular basis, season after season. That said, LED systems are a bit less horrific than incandescents. In the long run, all you can do is monitor them closely and fix them regularly.
Many of these general trailer maintenance issues, and more, get covered in the video How to do a Seasonal Trailer Inspection. In The Outboard Expert: Check Your Trailer, Charles Plueddeman does a great job of explaining why tires are so important, and what to look for before you send them rolling down the road.
If you’ve bought a used rig and it’s in need of some TLC, Trailer Love: How to Fix it Up Right will help you get a handle on fixes and repairs ranging from frame to bearings to wiring.
How To Use A Snatch Strap
If ever one invention simplified the process of vehicle recovery, it was the snatch strap. Much quicker and easier to use than a winch, they are reasonably lightweight and compact to carry in your vehicle. As part of a dedicated recovery kit, there’s not much more you need before needing to take one step up to winching.
Most recovery kits will contain either one or two straps, and all the needed hardware and attachments (shackles and tree trunk protector) to use them – including a good pair of gloves. But snatch straps do eventually wear out (we will get to that later) and you may wish to purchase another spare one.
You will invariably come across some poor sod bellied out on the low tide mark, and he won’t have one. Nobody with half a heart is going to leave him there … even if he does weigh a tonne more than your vehicle does. Unless, that is, he doesn’t have a suitable recovery point and you value your life … in that case, the kindest thing to do is grab a shovel and help him dig; or grab the Maxtrax.
How to choose a bike rack
Bikes vary widely in cost, style, size and weight too, all of which should be factors when looking for a means of transporting them. You probably won’t want to risk carrying your expensive super bike on a rack that costs less than one of its ultra-light tires.
Also consider practicality: whether the rack will suit your needs now and in the future; ease of use — how easy it is to fit to the vehicle and load; security — whether it holds the bikes safely and locks the bikes and to the vehicle; and how much storage space it will take up when not in use.
Hitch-mounted bike racks connect to a 1/4in or 2in receiver hitch that is mounted to your vehicle. They’re usually more expensive than other bike rack styles, but the ease of loading and unloading bikes, and not having to lift bikes onto the vehicle’s roof, make them a popular option.
As a basic rule, the more features a rack has such as built-in locks, repair stands, lightweight materials, etc., the more it costs. You also need a hitch on your vehicle, which can be an extra expense if you don’t already have one, and some vehicles are only compatible with 1/4in hitches, which typically limit the rack to two bikes instead of four or five bikes as with a 2in hitch.
Most roof racks consist of feet that attach to your vehicle’s roof, and cross bars that the accessories attach to. Bike racks for roof racks vary between ones that require front wheel removal and racks that allow both wheels to remain on the bike.
Front wheel removal keeps the bike lower (great for tall SUVs), can be easier and lighter to load, and is the classic way of hauling bikes up top. Bike racks that keep both wheels on the bike are taller, generally cost more, and can be less stable. Either option likely uses integrated locks to lock your bike to the rack. And of course the rack is locked to the bars, and the bars are locked to your vehicle.
Pros: Super versatile for all kinds of gear hauling. One of the most secure racks available. Doesn’t hinder access to any doors/boot/hatch/tailgate.
Cons: Drive under something low if you’ve forgotten about your bikes and you could wreck all your bikes and damage your vehicle. You’re also adding aero-drag to your vehicle, so fuel consumption will likely increase.
Trunk-mounted racks tend to be the least expensive option, and the least secure. The main thing holding them to your vehicle is a bunch of straps that hook around the lip of your vehicle’s trunk/hatchback/bumper.
Such racks are usually highly adjustable, so you can fit them to the rear of almost any vehicle. Rubber or foam ‘feet’ grip the vehicle, with the whole unit pulled taught and secured by the straps. This is the most affordable style of rack, but relies heavily on it being fitted properly and the hooks that hold the straps to the vehicle can sometimes damage paintwork.
Low-end trunk racks typically don’t have a way to lock your bike, or a way to be locked to your vehicle, so they’re also relatively easy to steal.
Pros: Easy to fit and usually the least expensive option. Easy to remove, small and fold for easy storage.
Cons: Least secure way to haul bikes. If you don’t fit it right you can lose the lot when driving, and the bikes are easy to steal.
Use the tow ball
I’m going to put this as number one. Luckily, this has been publicised a lot more in recent years, but people still seem to think it is ok to throw a snatch strap over the tow ball when recovering a 4WD. Tow balls are not designed for the sort of stress a snatch strap or winch can put on them, and are actually very brittle. If you snatch off your tow ball, it’s very likely to shear off, and fly through the air.
A chunk of metal like that, flying through the air as quickly as it does has the potential to kill, and it has done in the past. A few years ago a lady was killed near Geraldton whilst recovering a stuck 4WD on the beach. The tow ball broke off the vehicle being recovered, flew through the front window and killed her. Such a tragedy, and she was only trying to help out.
Please don’t use tow balls for recoveries. We don’t need any more accidents or deaths. You can read more about this at Tow balls in 4WD Recoveries can kill you.
Stand close to the action
The next ‘big’ mistake so many people make when recovering a 4WD is to stand close to the action. Yep, its exciting, and you want to see what is happening, but you need to be at least 1.times the length of the strap or winch cable away from the action. You’ll still be able to see, but it means if something does go pear shaped you aren’t going to get wiped out by a piece of recovery gear.
Spectators are the worst for doing this; those who have no idea and just want to see what the fuss is about. Just politely inform them to move out the way, and refuse to recover a stuck 4WD with those standing nearby. It’s not worth the risk.
Recover before using a shovel
Snatch straps come in a variety of lengths. However, in many situations, you aren’t able to get close enough to use just one snatch strap. The logical step then, is to join two together. This is fine, providing you do it with a bit of care and consideration. Joining two snatch straps (or any straps involved in a 4WD recovery) together with a shackle is very, very dangerous. The shackle isn’t likely to break, but snatch straps do on a fairly regular basis, and that shackle will fly through the air until it hits something, or comes to the end of the strap.
If someone is in the way of that chunk of flying metal, they aren’t going to be in very good shape. The correct way to join two snatch straps together is by feeding one end of snatch strap A through the eye of snatch strap B. Then, feed the same eye of snatch strap A over the other end of snatch strap B and pull it tight. This only takes a few seconds, and ensures that both snatch straps are holding together firmly.
Stress levels are elevated for sure during a 4WD recovery. However, it pays to take a second to stand back and consider what you are doing. There are plenty of different ways to recover a stuck 4WD, and you should decide on the quickest, safest and easiest method! Unless the tide is coming in, or your car is being filled up with water, you have time to consider what your options are, set the recovery up carefully and methodically, and get the bogged 4WD out without anything breaking! Have a think about What the weakest link is in your 4WD recovery, and factor that in to the way you set about it.
Ignore the second recovery point
Whether it be snatch straps, equaliser straps or tree trunk protectors, it is a bad idea to choke a strap. What I mean by this is putting the eye of one strap through the other, and pulling it tight around something(like most dog collars are). By doing this, you drastically reduce the strength of the strap, and may break it. In the case of tree trunk protectors, you should just basket the strap around the tree – feed one end around and attach the strap or winch onto both equal length ends of the strap.
Take off full pelt for the first snatch recovery
Once you’ve been bogged a few times, you will quickly gain an appreciation for the amount of force required to pull a stuck 4WD out. This varies considerably based on the situation, but more often than not you don’t need a full speed recovery. I always flinch when I see someone take a huge run up to snatch another 4WD out. This puts a ridiculous amount of stress on everything involved.
A good way to recover the 4WD is to start off slow, and get progressively quicker if you don’t get the car out the first time. In general, most snatch recoveries work just fine if you leave – metres of slack strap, and take off with the bogged vehicle turning its wheels slowly.
Most of the time just a gentle pull is all you need!
You can buy a range of different sized snatch straps, winches and other recovery equipment. If you have a Suzuki Jimny, you shouldn’t be using the same winch, snatch strap or equaliser strap as someone with a tonne Land Cruiser and camper trailer hooked on the rear. Make sure the recovery gear you have suits your vehicle; if it is too light you risk something breaking. In the case of snatch straps, if it is too heavy (like using an 11,000kg snatch strap to pull out a Sierra) it won’t stretch properly.
Our Hilux in Collie
On occasion, one 4WD will not be able to recover a bogged 4WD. A good example of this is trying to winch a stuck 4WD out of sticky mud; in many cases, the vehicle winching the bogged 4WD out will get pulled towards the muck, as a pose to the other way around. In this situation, you’ve got a few options, but one of the more common ways is to anchor the recovery vehicle to another 4WD. This is fine, as it just stops the 4WD from moving forward as easily.
However, I have seen photos of a bogged 4WD being winched by another 4WD, who in turn is being winched by another 4WD. You need to remember that the forces are greatly increased when doing this. Occasionally people will have cars joined together with snatch straps, all working as a train to pull a stuck car off a soft beach, for example. Again, this can be fine, providing the stresses are kept down and its done safely. Food for thought.
Ignore the dampener
It’s a good idea to use a dampener when recovering a stuck 4WD by winch or snatch strap. It is there purely to reduce the recoil, should something break. You don’t have to buy a dampener; a big jumper or towel works just as well, but it’s worth putting one (or two) on.
Keep your thoughts to yourself
I don’t like telling people what they are doing is unsafe, but if you are a witness to a recovery that you think is dodgy, its worth speaking up about it. Obviously, its a judgement call, and you have to feel safe with doing this, but don’t keep your thoughts to yourself.
I remember being down at Yeagarup beach a few years ago and coming across a Jeep that was bogged to the chassis rails. A 4WD club had turned up, and got stuck into the recovery. They pulled the snatch straps out, had a bit of a chat to the driver, and set the recovery up. I looked at what they had done; joined two straps together with a shackle. Half of me said ‘say something!’, and the other half said, no, they should know what they are doing.
Now, this wasn’t a normal beach recovery. We are talking about a done up VLandcruiser who gave it the berries with a big run up, and a heavy jeep with zero digging having been done, well and truly bogged. I didn’t say anything, and the car was recovered without anyone getting hurt, but its the perfect example of when you really should say something. Imagine if a strap had broken, and one of the many spectators had been hurt, or killed? I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.
Spin your wheels at a rate of knots
If you get stuck in a 4WD, the worst thing you can do is put your foot down on the accelerator. Ironically, this is usually the first thing people do when they get stuck. If your wheels turn and you don’t move forward, you are going to sink. The longer you stay on the accelerator, the deeper your hole gets, and the harder it is to be recovered.
Important towing information
PREVENT WHIPPING by properly loading the tow dolly. The vehicle-in-tow must be loaded facing forward (front wheels on tow dolly). Loading the vehicle-in-tow backwards can cause the tow vehicle and tow dolly “combination” to begin WHIPPING, which is violent and uncontrollable sway.
SIDE to SIDE MOTION (SWAY) THAT BEGINS as you reach a certain speed, will likely become WHIPPING at higher speeds. If you notice sway beginning SLOW DOWN IMMEDIATELY by letting off the gas pedal. Then stop to check the tow dolly and vehicle-in-tow as soon as possible.
IF WHIPPING or SWAY OCCURS, DO NOT steer, DO NOT apply your brakes, and NEVER speed up. Let off the gas pedal and hold the steering wheel in a straight-ahead position.
Slow down when towing
AVOID CRASHES by slowing down. Reduce your speed from what you would normally drive without a tow dolly under similar road conditions. The maximum speed is 5mph when towing a U-Haul tow dolly. Do not exceed any posted speed limit.
DRIVE DEFENSIVELY – anticipate stops, brake early, and never follow closely.
BEFORE going downhill, slow down and shift the transmission into a lower gear. DO NOT RIDE BRAKES on downgrades.
Slow down for curves, adverse weather, hazardous road conditions, road construction and expressway exits.
Before towing and on the road
Use the checklist at the end of these instructions before towing and while on the road.
Make sure your tow vehicle is properly equipped and maintained. Be sure all tires are inflated properly.
ALWAYS wear your seat belt. Be sure children are properly restrained.
DO NOT drive when you are fatigued, sleepy or distracted. Avoid driving at night.
NEVER use a cell phone when driving. If you need to use a cell phone find a safe place to exit the roadway.
NEVER drive under the influence of alcohol or any substance that might impair your vision, judgment, or ability to control the vehicle.
NEVER tow without properly installed tire straps and vehicle-in-tow security chains.
NEVER allow passengers to ride inside the vehicle-in-tow or on the tow dolly.
No open or soft-top sport utility vehicle is allowed to tow a tow dolly, because in the event of a crash, these vehicles offer less collision and ejection protection.
Your tow vehicle
For occasional towing, your vehicle can tow the tow dolly, provided the curb weight of your tow vehicle is at least 750 lbs. more than the weight of the vehicle-in-tow. Example: A 2,750 lb. car may tow no more than a 2,000 lb. car. Never use a tow vehicle different than listed on your rental contract.
Refer to the owner’s manual, decal instructions or an authorized automotive dealer for any specific handling characteristics of your tow vehicle.
Changes made to your tow vehicle after it was manufactured can affect its ability to tow. These changes can include different tires, suspension changes, etc. Check your owner’s manual or with an authorized automotive dealer to make sure any changes to your tow vehicle are approved. DO NOT tow the tow dolly if your tow vehicle has changes that are not approved.
Avoid driving on a compact spare tire any longer than necessary. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.
When towing a tow dolly, all lights must be operational. Your tow vehicle may require external mirrors on both sides. A U-Haul representative can advise you of the systems available if your vehicle is not properly equipped.
To find how much weight you are allowed to put in your tow vehicle: p 1: Find your tow vehicle’s GVWR on the label inside the driver’s door. p 2: Subtract the curb (empty) weight of your tow vehicle from the GVWR. Contact a U-Haul representative for help in finding the curb weight of your tow vehicle. p 3: Subtract 200 pounds from the answer in Step This accounts for tow dolly tongue weight.
The answer in Step is the amount of weight you can put in your tow vehicle. This weight includes driver, passengers, cargo and any additional equipment. If the rear of your tow vehicle seems low, reduce the load in the rear seat, trunk or cargo bed areas. Too much load in the rear can affect handling.
Set all tires to the proper pressure. Find the recommended COLD pressure on the tire sidewall, owner’s manual, your vehicle’s door decal or on the tow dolly decal. DO NOT put more pressure in the tire than is indicated on the tire sidewall. Tire pressures go up during driving. DO NOT let off this extra pressure.
Air pressure in the rear tires of some tow vehicles may be increased to accommodate the additional weight of the tow dolly. Inflate rear tires approximately psi above normal, but do not exceed the pressure limit stamped on tire.
The maximum weight the vehicle-in-tow can be is determined by your specific tow vehicle. This is done during the rental process, so NEVER place a vehicle-in-tow on the tow dolly that is different than listed on your rental contract. A different vehicle-in- tow than listed on your rental contract may cause a disturbance or damage to your tow vehicle, tow dolly or vehicle-in-tow.
The vehicle-in-tow tires MUST fit on the tow dolly ramps without hanging over the sides.
DO NOT load a vehicle-in-tow that is more than 7inches wide at the front doors.
Low hanging equipment on your vehicle-in-tow, such as spoilers, air dams, ground effects, etc., may be damaged by contact with the Tow Dolly during loading and unloading. Make sure there is enough clearance for these items. If there is not enough clearance for these items, they must be removed, or do not load the vehicle-in-tow.
The tow dolly is designed for carrying vehicles with standard, factory-installed suspensions. Modified or lowered suspension vehicles may not fit on the tow dolly, damage may occur to the vehicles during loading or transport. U-Haul is not responsible for damage to vehicles with modified suspensions.
Push down on the latch (C) and fully loosen the hand-wheel (D) by turning counterclockwise.
Lower the coupler (B) onto the hitch-ball (A) as shown.
Check that the ball clamp (E) is positioned below the coupler (B). The coupler should completely cover and enclose the hitch-ball (A).
Hand tighten the coupler by pushing down on the latch (C) while turning the handwheel (D) clockwise. At least complete revolutions of the handwheel are necessary.
When the handwheel becomes tight, move the tow vehicle forward slightly or push rearward on the tow dolly to ensure that the hitch-ball is properly seated inside the coupler. Recheck that the handwheel is tight.
Check all connections at each stop. Make sure the hitch and hitch-ball are securely attached to your tow vehicle and that the tow dolly coupler is properly connected to the hitch-ball. Use the checklist at the end of these instructions. If you suspect or detect that something is wrong, contact the nearest U-Haul representative.
Make sure all tow vehicle and tow dolly lights function properly. The connecting wires need slack to allow your tow vehicle to make turns. Do not allow wires to drag on the roadway.
Even though the tow dolly has operating lights the law requires that a vehicle-in-tow rear-end be equipped with functioning stop, turn and running lights. Detachable vehicle-in-tow towing lights can be purchased at your U-Haul Center or dealer. Disconnect the tow dolly wires from the tow vehicle and plug in the vehicle-in-tow lights when the tow dolly is loaded.
When using a detachable tow light system, a ground wire between the tow dolly and vehicle-in-tow may be required as follows:. If the portable light system has a ground wire, attach it to the tow dolly or tow vehicle.
B. If the portable light system has no ground wire, install a suitable ground wire from the vehicle-in-tow to the tow dolly or tow vehicle.
NOTE: The ground wire must be attached to a metal surface that is solidly attached to the main structure.
The vehicle-in-tow MUST be loaded facing forward (front wheels on tow dolly). Failure to load facing forward may result in sway or WHIPPING and lead to total loss of control.
DO NOT load cargo in your vehicle-in-tow or on your tow dolly. Loading cargo in your vehicle-in-tow or on your tow dolly may result in sway or WHIPPING.
Before loading your vehicle-in-tow, make sure the Tow Dolly is securely attached to your tow vehicle hitch. Turn the coupler handwheel clockwise. Make sure the safety chains are properly connected. During the loading process, keep children and others at least 2feet away.
Be sure that you complete each step of the following instructions.
Pull on the ratchet release and raise the handle as far up as you can; (Figure 5) then pull on the tire strap to unroll adequate slack from the spool. Lay the strap assembly to the outside of the ramp, next to the tow dolly fender.
Securing the vehicle-in-tow
Make sure that the part of the strap that was placed through the slot is secure between the ratchet shaft and the tire strap. After tightening the straps, push the handles down and completely rearward.
Disconnect the drive shaft if required. Make sure the vehicle-in-tow parking brake is released.
Slow down for curves, adverse weather, hazardous road conditions, road construction and expressway exits. Do not feel secure because the tow dolly tows easily at higher speeds. A road hazard that could be avoided at 5mph, may become unavoidable at a higher speed.
When driving at a lower speed you are less likely to lose control of any vehicle, than when driving at a higher speed. Excessive speed is a major cause of accidents.
U-Haul does not recommend using cruise control or overdrive when towing a tow dolly.
Whipping is violent and uncontrollable sway caused by loading a tow dolly heavier in the rear half. Persistent side to side sway motion is not normal. If this occurs at a certain speed, it is a signal that WHIPPING will likely occur if speed is increased by a small amount. If you notice this behavior immediately slow down and maintain at least mph below the speed this sway was first noticed. Then stop at the first opportunity and reload the vehicle-in-tow facing forward and remove any cargo from the vehicle-in-tow.
Your combination is heavier and longer than your tow vehicle alone and will require more time and distance to pass.
Passing by another vehicle in the same or opposite direction can result in a combination disturbance. See the combination disturbances section on what to do if a combination disturbance happens.
SLOW DOWN BEFORE starting down hill. Shift into lower gear and let off the gas pedal, this allows the engine to help you control your speed. Combination disturbances happen more frequently going downhill and at higher speeds.
DO NOT turn the steering wheel sharply. apply your brakes.
Let off the gas pedal and slow down below 2mph. Then steer gradually back on the roadway. Proceed with caution entering traffic.
The tow dolly is wider than the tow vehicle. Allow for this by driving in the center of your lane.
Avoid turning too sharp on corners, in gas stations or parking lots. Because the combination is longer the vehicle-in-tow will track inside the turn and may sideswipe a vehicle or object. Drive slightly past the corner before turning or turn wider than you would with a car to avoid this. Or simply plan ahead and avoid sharp turns where you can.
Before unloading the tow dolly make sure it is securely attached to the tow vehicle. Turn the coupler handwheel clockwise. Make sure the safety chains are properly connected. Place the combination on level ground. Make sure the tow dolly is directly behind the tow vehicle, in a straight line. Set the tow vehicle’s PARKING BRAKE firmly and turn the motor off. Allow room behind the tow dolly to back the vehicle-in-tow clear of the tow dolly.
During the unloading process, keep children and others at least 2feet away.
Immediately park your combination in a safe place, completely off the roadway. Turn on your emergency flashers. Get all occupants out of the vehicle and away from the roadway.
If you must continue on the roadway to reach a safe place off the road, turn on your emergency flashers and proceed with caution.
If necessary, drive on a flat tire to reach a safe place completely off the roadway. Drive slowly.
When the only thing preventing your vehicle from imminent danger is a narrow strip of fabric, nothing but the best will do. ARB’s recovery straps are woven and fabricated to strict quality specifications and tested by a NATA approved laboratory to ensure optimum performance.
A full range of high quality straps are available, each specifically designed to suit its purpose and give you peace of mind during your next recovery.
Tree Trunk Protectors
When using a tree as an anchor point in a recovery situation, wrapping cable, rope or chain around it causes damage to both your equipment and the tree. This means next time you may not have a viable anchor point for recovery.
ARB has two models of snatch block available, the standard 7000kg, and the lightweight but heavy duty 9000kg. ARB snatch blocks feature side plates that sit snug against the pulley, eliminating the possibility of the winch cable becoming trapped in between. And the groove on the pulley itself tapers down to the centre, allowing for a variety of cable sizes to be used and ensuring the cable is seated securely, minimising lateral movement.
While ARB’s winch cables and straps are exceptionally strong, it is essential that safety precautions such as fitting a recovery damper are taken to avoid injury in the event of a failure.
In the unlikely event of a wire rope or strap failure, the recovery damper will absorb most of the energy in the cable or strap, thereby significantly reducing the recoil.
Manufactured from heavy duty vinyl with a silver reflective tape for visibility at night and Velcro to reduce slipping, ARB recovery dampers are a reliable and durable choice.
View our Catalogue
Contains ARB’s recommended retail pricing and a full list of corresponding part numbers.
Please note, our pricing and application guide is tailored for Australian customers only. International customers, please contact your local authorised ARB distributor for country specific pricing and availability.
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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the content within this customised section is accurate, please consult your nearest ARB store or authorised stockist to confirm product features and availability prior to ordering.
What You Need To Be Prepared
If you plan on recovering a lot of vehicles, having spare tools never hurts. Having two receiver shackles, hitch pins, or even a clevis hook or keeper would be worth it, as you may need to hook up receiver-to-receiver, and the other driver might not have one. If you want to be prepared to pull out compact, front-wheel-drive cars, a T-hook would also be a good investment. Choose a rot-resistant tow strap with a minimum weight rating of 15,000 pounds, 4-inches in width, and at least 20-feet in length. Depending on the type of angle, or how much pulling room you have to work with in a given situation, having two tow straps, varying in length, is a good idea. Of course, having two of anything is a good idea if something breaks. Most importantly, be prepared now-don’t wait for the next snow storm or blizzard to invest in a couple tow straps. In an emergency, everyone thinks the same, and there won’t be any left to buy.
Tire size and extra weight in the bed can also make a huge difference. Narrow tires will dig in easier than wider, oversized tires will, and will find traction easier. Sandbags, tractor weights, or anything with substantial weight placed over the rear axles will aid with traction as well. In addition to having recovery hardware, make sure you are physically prepared to battle the winter elements. Recovering a stuck vehicle buried in the snow is no easy or simple task. Keep a pair of spare gloves, boots, a coat, and even overalls in your cab, as you’re more than likely going to have to dig out an opening in the snow to gain access to the stuck vehicle’s underbody. In addition, keeping a reliable flashlight with you will help while recovering vehicles at night, and will ensure you hook to something durable that will withstand the stress of the pull.
Where To Hook
Nearly every car, truck, or van has a recovery tow point, or a place that the manufacturer has hooked to before. While not necessarily for the same reason, they’ve done it for freight purposes. Most newer four-wheel-drive trucks and SUV’s come equipped with front tow hooks, and some smaller cars have a loop built into their unibody. But, for those with no engineered areas to hook onto, a T-hook would come in very handy, as they can simply be hooked onto any place where the car has substantial structure. Be especially careful when hooking to a low-profile sports car (like a new Mustang). It is in your best interest to hook on in the middle of the car to the transmission crossmember, and use the longest strap possible to spread the load of the pull. Using a long tow strap also allows the towing vehicle to be as far from the car as possible to prevent the lower front fascia of the stuck car from ripping off.
Oftentimes, pulling a vehicle out of a ditch requires you to hook up and pull on the road. While this can work, pavement with a layer of ice and snow covering it provides little-to-no traction. When possible, without subjecting your own vehicle to getting stuck, position yourself on the other side of the ditch (like in a field) for better traction. This is when having a 40-foot tow strap comes in handy, and allows you to pull the stuck vehicle back onto the road. It’s important to remember not to put your own vehicle out of commission when pulling someone out. If getting stuck is even a possibility, don’t attempt it because it’s just more money for the tow truck operator later on. Don’t try to pull out semis, heavy equipment of considerable size, or plow trucks with tons of salt in the back. The sacrifices your truck will make in the effort won’t be worth the outcome. Kind of like a bulldozer getting stuck down in a waterway in the middle of a rainstorm, it’s going to be a while before it gets out.
Always Pull Forward
Trying to pull someone out with your truck in Reverse should be avoided. Your truck is built to pull forward, which is why your receiver is in the rear. Pulling forward keeps weight on both the rear and front axles, for optimum traction. Pulling in Reverse puts tremendous stress on your front end, distributes virtually no weight for traction to the rear axle, and can’t get you up to speed if you have to resort to yanking. Stress on the front axle, axleshafts, hubs, and differential can result in two stuck vehicles, one of which might even be blocking the snow-drifted road you’re on. Being prepared for winter is one thing, but preparing yourself and your truck to pull out other cars is another. The better equipped you are, the easier it will be for your truck to live up to its tow truck capability. Remember to be careful when the white stuff falls, but also remember to have fun. Playing “tow truck” is rooted deep in a diesel’s long list of attributes.
Anatomy Of A Stuck Vehicle *Find a solid point to hook to on the stuck vehicle. *Pull the car out the way it came in. Hook to the rear of the car. There should be a tie-down hook, or loop at the rear of the car connected to its subframe. *After hooking up, be careful not to yank the rear bumperoff. Using the longest available tow strap reduces the chances of the strap pulling up and crushing the bumper. *Although it won’t help much until you get the car moving and momentum is on your side, have the driver put the car in Reverse for a little added help while you pull them. The easier you make it on yourself, the quicker you’ll get the car out.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your tow strap wisely! Good luck!
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- №1 — 2 inch Tow Strap Hooks
- №2 — 3″ x 8′ Tree Saver Tow Strap by Vault – Recover Your Vehicle with these 30
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