If you’re passionate about off-roading and seeing where the trails may take you, it’s essential to be prepared for any situation. You never know when you might come across a puddle that’s deeper or muddier than you estimated or terrain that’s hopelessly impassable. If you become stuck in the great outdoors, you need a way to get yourself out. Most off-roaders are meticulous about installing a Jeep fender flare to protect their vehicle from rocks and mud, but a surprising number of people go out adventuring without having a winch for Jeep. If you aren’t sure what a winch is, here’s what you should know about them.
Understanding Jeep Winches
A winch is a device that’s designed to pull large things (like your Jeep, for example). It’s composed of a motor and a wound-up rope or cable. The setup can be mounted to the front bumper of your Jeep so you always have a way to pull yourself out of tough spots.
There are two main types of winches for Jeeps: hydraulic and electric powered. A hydraulic winch derives its power from the steering pump. That means you can use it as long as your engine is still running. Many people like the peace of mind that hydraulic winches can offer, because they know the winch won’t ever run out of steam as long as there’s enough fuel to keep the vehicle’s engine running.
An electric winch is powered by your vehicle’s electric system. Though this type of winch can’t pull continuously over long periods of time, it will most likely provide you with enough pulling minutes to get you out of most tough spots. One of the benefits of an electric winch is that it can offer you up to 5 minutes of pulling power even if your engine is dead.
There is no “perfect” winch for everyone, just as there is not single set of “perfect” Jeep wheels for every vehicle. You may want to talk to your fellow off-roader friends to find out which type of winch they prefer. But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether or a hydraulic or electric winch will best meet your needs.
How To Use a Jeep winch
There are a couple of ways you can use a winch to get yourself unstuck. One way is through self-recovery using a winch that’s mounted to your own Jeep. When using this method, you’ll need to attach your winch cable to a thick tree or other solid anchor (make sure it can’t be easily dislocated!) Then, you can activate the power on your winch motor to dislodge your vehicle from whatever hole or crevice it may be stuck inside.
The second method involves using another vehicle’s winch to recover your vehicle. You can do this by attaching a friend’s winch to your stuck vehicle, then having the other vehicle pull you out until your tires have enough traction to function properly.
You never know when you might become stranded while off-roading, so it’s important to have a winch with you at all times. It’s also wise to go adventuring with others so you have help if you’re ever in a bad situation.