It sure is fun going through the various terrains in a 4WD vehicle, but unfortunately, they’re not indestructible, nor can they go over every type of terrain with no problems whatsoever. There may come a time when your 4×4 gets stuck in the snow, sand or mud, and you’re going to need a bit of help yanking it out of there. This is where snatch straps come in. Snatch straps come in handy when you’re stuck in a bog and need to get out as quickly as possible.
Snatch straps have special webbing that allow them to be stretched an extra 20%. This additional slack gives you the strength necessary to pull a downed 4×4 out of a sticky situation. The straps are anywhere from 6 meters to 15 meters in length, but 9 meters is one of the most common lengths. The strap itself should be rated 2 to 3 times more than a vehicle’s GVM (gross vehicle mass). Considering the smallest 4×4’s weigh about 2,000 kilograms, a 6,000 kg strap is the best type to use on SUVs of this size. As the 4×4 gets heavier, the strap must be rated higher. An 8,000 kg strap is not uncommon for larger 4×4’s.
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A snatch strap rated higher than the GVM of the vehicle may not stretch enough to allow for recovery; this is why getting the right rating on a strap is so important. The stretching lets snatch straps build the kinetic energy necessary to pull a vehicle (or “snatch” a vehicle, hence the name) from its stuck position. The strap is fastened to the vehicle’s recovery point (please note that this is not the same thing as the tow hitch) and a second vehicle, called the recovery vehicle, drives off to build up the kinetic energy necessary to free the stuck car.
4×4 owners should know where the recovery points are on their vehicles; preferably, the vehicle should have both front and rear recovery points so the snatch straps can be used there. Recoveries using a snatch strap work best if a heavier vehicle recovers a light vehicle, and vice versa. Snatch straps are generally good for about 10 recoveries before they’ll need to be replaced. Also, having a snatch strap on hand is a good preventive measure for any off-roader to have in the 4×4 just in case something happens.