How to Set Up a 4×4 Winch

Last week, we discussed the essentials of winching your 4×4

Now that you know what you need, let’s take a look at how to set up a 4×4 winch to successfully recover your vehicle!

Step 1: Attach the Shackle

Attach the shackle to the two ends of the strap/chain, being careful not to over tighten (tighten and back-off 1/2 turn).

Step 2: Secure the Winch Hook

While keeping the line near the ground, insert the winch hook through the D-shackle


Step 3: Lock the Clutch

Lock the winch drum by rotating the clutch lever on the winch to engage. 

Step 4: Put the Rope Under Tension

Using the remote control, slowly wind the wire rope until no slack remains. Once the wire rope is under tension, stand well clear, and never step over it.

Step 5: Check you Anchor

Make sure all connections are well secured and free of debris before continuing with the winching procedure.

Don’t forget the tree protector.


As you probably noticed, there are many things to do and consider before you actually begin pulling. Think through what you’re doing and you can keep yourself and those around you out of harm’s way.

Operating your winch properly is so important, in fact, you should practice these techniques before having to face the distractions and stresses of a real winching situation.

Step 6: Hang the Winch Blanket Over the Rope

If you decide it is necessary, throw the heavy blanket midway between the winch and the anchor point to absorb energy should the wire rope snap loose.

Step 7: Make Your Intentions Clear

Be sure that everyone in the immediate vicinity surrounding the winching operation is completely aware of your intentions before you pull.

Declare where the spectators should not stand — never behind or in front of the vehicle and never near the rope or snatch block.

Your situation may have other “no people zones.” 

People like to stand close and watch or film. Keep them back and well out of the way.

You included – either with a remote or if on a cable, in your truck. 

Step 8: Begin Winching

With the winching vehicle’s engine on and light tension already on the wire rope, begin winching slowly and steadily. Be sure that the rope is winding evenly and tightly around the spooling drum.

For additional assistance, the winched vehicle can be slowly driven while being pulled by the winch.

Step 9: Maintain The Pulling Force

For vehicle recovery, continue pulling until the vehicle is on stable ground. If you are able to drive the vehicle, the winching operation is complete.

Step 10: Secure the Truck

Once recovery of the vehicle is complete, be sure to secure the vehicle’s brakes and put the Transmission in “park”(automatic) or “low” gear for (manual) transmissions. Release tension in the wire rope.

Step 11: Avoid Overheating the Winch Motor

For extended winching, stop at reasonable intervals to allow the winch motor to cool down

Step 12: Disconnect Winch Rope 

Disconnect from the anchor.

Step 13: Rewind the Rope

The person handling the rope should walk the rope in and not let it slide through the hand and control the winch at all times.

To do that:

  • Arrange the remote control lead so it cannot be caught in the winch. Arrange the rope so it will not kink or tangle when spooled. Be sure any wire rope already on the spooling drum is wound tightly and evenly layered.
  • Tighten and straighten the layer if necessary. Keep the wire rope under light tension and spool the wire rope back onto the winch drum in even layers.
  • Stop frequently to tighten and straighten the layers as necessary.
  • Repeat this process until the winch hook is the same distance as the full length of the remote control from the winch. Pinch the hook between your thumb and forefinger and attach the hook strap.
  • Hold the hook strap between the thumb and forefinger to keep tension on the rope.
  • Walk the wire rope towards the fairlead, carefully spooling in the remaining rope by pulsing the remote control switch.
  • Store the hook at the fairlead or tensioned to a suitable location to the side.
  • If you do not have the hook strap, use a length of cord or something similar.
  • To prevent serious injury, do not put your fingers inside the hook area as you are powering in

Well done, you’ve winched and you’re out!

Book Your Slot with Avalanche Adventure!

Come to a Pay and Play day with us and off-road on our tracks near Leicestershire! There are experienced people and marshals about that can help and guide you should you get stuck. 

For beginners, there can be a real fear of “what if I get stuck when I’m driving about?”

Once you’ve been stuck a few times in a controlled environment and learned how to get yourself out, that fear will be gone and you can trust in your new skills and equipment and have fun driving.

From quad biking to clay pigeon shooting, our activity centre has several activities to keep you hooked. 

Give us a call today on 01858 880 613 to book your adventure!