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10 Things You Should Never Do In A 4WD Recovery

10 Things You Should Never Do In A 4WD Recovery

OK off-road enthusiasts! Picture this: you're navigating the great outdoors in your 4WD, and suddenly, the wheels decide to cozy up to some challenging terrain. Fear not, it's all part of the adventure. But here's the scoop – 4WD recovery isn't just about getting unstuck; it's a delicate dance between nature, your vehicle, and a dash of technical finesse. Safety is the unsung hero in this off-road symphony, and let me tell you why.

When your 4WD decides to embrace a mud bath or sandpit, the forces needed to bring it back to solid ground can be quite the challenge. Now, imagine this: a recovery gone wrong, gear flying like confetti, and you caught in the middle of an unintended off-road circus. It's not just a wild tale; it's a reality for many. In fact, serious accidents and even fatalities have occurred during 4WD recoveries gone south.

Safety, my friend, is not an optional extra in off-road escapades – it's the compass guiding you through the excitement. So, let's dive into the top 10 tips you should engrave in your off-road playbook for a recovery mission that's not only successful but also drama-free.

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4x4 recovery

1. No Tow Ball Tango

Let's kick this off with a big no-no – using the tow ball for recovery. I get it, it's round and it's there, but it's not Hercules. Snatch straps and winches can turn that tow ball into a projectile faster than you can say "uh-oh." Spare yourself the flying tow ball drama.

2. Back Up, Buddy!

Ever seen a movie where someone stands too close to an explosion? Yeah, don't be that guy (or gal). When you're in recovery mode, keep a safe distance – 1.5 times the length of the strap or winch cable. Spectators love to play stunt doubles, but kindly tell them to back up and enjoy the show from a safe spot.

3. Shovel Power

It might not be glamorous, but hey, neither is being stuck. Grab that shovel and start digging. Five minutes of dirt relocation can save you from turning your 4WD recovery into a superhero action scene. Dig in front of all four wheels; it's like giving your vehicle a helping hand to climb back to the surface.

Reovery 4x4 gear

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4. Join snatch straps together with care

So, imagine you're stuck, and one snatch strap isn't enough. The instinct might be to join two together with a shackle, but that's a risky move. Snatch straps can snap, and if that shackle goes airborne, it's not a party favour – it's a potential danger. Instead, loop one strap through the eye of the other, creating a secure connection. To prevent them from pulling too tight during recovery, stick a rolled-up newspaper or magazine between the two straps. It's a simple trick that can save you hours of untangling later.

5. Don't rush around

The adrenaline is pumping, and you're eager to get back on track, but here's the deal – rushing can lead to mistakes. Take a breath, assess the situation, and plan your recovery method carefully. Unless your 4WD is sinking with the tide or transforming into a submarine, you've got time. A methodical approach reduces the risk of gear breaking and ensures a safer recovery for you and those around you. So grab those sand trax and stay safe!

6. Recover from rated points

Those factory tow points might look solid, but looks can be deceiving. Most aren't built for the stress of a serious recovery. Get yourself some rated recovery points – they're the real deal. Tow points are designed for towing, not recoveries. Invest in a recovery hitch for a secure and safe connection.

Sand recovery


7. Mind your tyre pressures

Your 4WD's footwear – the tyres – plays a crucial role in recovery. Check and adjust those tyre pressures with some tyre deflators, especially if you're dealing with sand. Lowering the pressure can be a game-changer, providing better traction and making the recovery smoother. Just remember to account for the pressure change as your tyres warm up – it's a game of balance.

8. Think forward, not reverse

When it comes to recovery, your gearbox has a preference – it's stronger in forward gears than in reverse. If it's feasible, turn your rig around and recover going forwards. While reverse recovery is sometimes unavoidable, keep in mind the potential strain on your gearbox. Being mindful can save you from a costly transmission replacement when you get home from your adventure.

9. Snatch straps and heavy mud? Think twice

Mud can be a formidable opponent, especially when it's determined to keep your 4WD in its grasp. Using a snatch strap here is a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The suction force of mud combined with the sudden jolt from a snatch strap can put immense stress on your 4WD. Instead, opt for a winch, Maxtrax, and some serious shovel action. If a winch isn't in your toolkit, consider alternative methods rather than risking damage with a snatch strap.

10. Use rated gear only

Shackles, straps, and other recovery gear need to be up to the task. If it doesn't have a stamp or tag declaring its rating, it's a no-go. Trust those coloured pins on your shackles – they indicate the working load limit. Using non-rated gear is like playing Russian roulette; always consider the weakest link in your setup, and never compromise on safety.



In the exhilarating world of off-roading, mastering the art of 4WD recovery is your golden ticket to adventure. Now, armed with the knowledge we've shared, you're ready to navigate challenges like a seasoned off-road pro. Before you rev up those engines, consider a few additional safety tips for your off-road toolkit.

Communication is the backbone of a successful recovery. Ensure clear communication with your recovery crew, be it through hand signals, radios, or modern Bluetooth headsets. Being on the same page guarantees a coordinated and safe recovery operation.

Remember, two heads are better than one. When tackling recoveries, having a second vehicle on standby not only adds muscle to the operation but provides an extra layer of safety.

Lastly, know your limits. While off-roading is a thrilling adventure, it's crucial to recognize when to call it a day. Pushing your limits and those of your 4WD can lead to unnecessary risks. There's always another trail waiting for another day.

Now, if you're itching to hit the trails but find yourself lacking in the recovery gear department, fear not! Brixton 4x4 Adventure has your back. Their extensive collection of top-notch recovery gear ensures you're well-equipped to turn your off-road challenges into tales of triumph. Remember, safety first, adventure always! 🌲🚙💨

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