Jeeps Wranglers have a long history of being used for utility duty and hardcore trail riding. Other brands and models of four-wheel-drive trucks may be used most often for soccer-practice drives and grocery store commutes; in contrast, Jeep owners often find themselves traveling on muddy paths and fields, up steep hills or through brushy ravines. If you are a Jeep owner, accessorizing your truck with a winch is a must since you can find your Jeep rim and tire packages bogged down during these off-pavement pursuits. However, a winch must be chosen appropriately and used correctly; here is how.
Choose Your Winch Type
A Jeep Wrangler winch comes in different configurations and sports various power ratings. It is important you pick one that is right for your needs. You can select either a hydraulic model, which your steering pump engages or an electric unit that runs off your Jeep’s electrical system. Hydraulic winches are ruggedly optimal for extended, continual use; electric winches are tough, practical and easy to use, but they may burn out if run over and over or long-term.
Choose the Appropriate Capacity
Avoid cutting corners where you purchase a winch that is underpowered; it will fail to do the job and may break prematurely. Also skip one that has just enough power for your Jeep, as it may work only under light conditions. You are safe purchasing a winch specified to handle 150% of your truck’s estimated weight when fully loaded.
Determine Your Primary Winch Needs
You may find that you use your new winch primarily to get your own Jeep unstuck from mud or deep sand (though you may be able to rescue others in a bind). Even if you have increased your ride height using a Jeep Wrangler lift kit, you can find yourself bogged down to the point where your tires can’t find enough grip to use your engine’s torque effectively.
Take the First Steps To Extricate Your Jeep
Before getting to work, put on gloves to protect hands while handling the winch cable. Look for a tree straight in front of the Jeep, then unspool the cable carefully and under tension. These actions will help you when you re-spool; the cable should not kink or bunch on one side. When you loop the cable around a sturdy tree, use a blanket or special tree protector to avoid damaging the bark or even killing the tree. Then step back, instructing any bystanders to do the same.
Turn on your Jeep if it is not already running, which may have been necessary to unwind the winch. You can either stand next to the Jeep or sit inside; in any case, you need to protect yourself against the possibility that the tree will snap, sending the taught cable snaking through the air. Operate the winch slowly until your truck is in an operating position. Next, unwind until there is enough slack that you can safely remove the cable from the tree. Finally, increase tension again and rewind while monitoring the winch.
As a Jeep owner, you will likely consider all the enhancements you can, from choosing new Jeep rim and tire packages to installing fender flares. However, to ensure you can handle challenging trail conditions, adding a winch may be the most practical accessory action you can take.