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Basic Recovery Information:
Many people don't really understand how dangerous the recovery process really is. With all the stored energy in a strap or chain, it can come flying back at over 300 MPH. If you get hit by a strap, chain, shrapnel, etc, at the very least your friends will be rushing you to a hospital, assuming you are lucky enough to survive the impact. Now I'm not trying to freak anyone out, but recovery of a stuck vehicle is serious business, and you must respect the equipment. One could write a book about safe recovery practices, however, I'll just try and cover some of the very basic methods, and common mistakes.
As already mentioned here in the FAQ, at the very least your Jeep should have tow hooks, before you even hit the trail. Tow hooks are cheap and easy to install, especially on a Wrangler, so there is no excuse for not having them.
You should also have a tow strap, the strap should not have hooks on it. Its bad enough to have a strap come flying at you, but having a hook attached is even worse. Also make sure the strap is strong enough. Most tow ropes you find at the auto parts stores are not strong enough for recovery use. Most good straps are rated for about 20,000 lbs. In general chains shouldn't be part of the recovery process, they do have their place in recovery but can be dangerous if not used properly.
Hooking up a strap:
-Straps should be attached to tow hooks, on both vehicles.
-The strap should not be wrapped around a bumper, it can come loose, or worse yet the bumper can damage the strap, or worse cut it.
-Straps should not be placed on a hitch balls. A safer alternative is to actually place the strap in the hitch and attached using just the receiver pin.
-Never tie a knot in the strap to attach it, if you must wrap it around something feed the strap through itself to secure it.
-Double check where the other person put a strap, not everyone knows whats safe, if the other end comes loose guess which direction its coming.
During the recovery process make sure people are clear of the recovery area. I will normally actually try and hide behind a big tree.
Also remember many of these same things apply to winches, winch cables can break, hooks can come loose, a cable is even more dangerous than a strap. You have a long cable on the winch remote so there should be enough slack for you to stand back.
If you take care of your recovery equipment it should last a very long time. To help extend the life of your straps/cables, make sure you keep your equipment clean, try and prevent straps/cables from rubbing on things during the recovery process. If your strap/cable starts to fray, you should replace it.

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