If you just bought a vehicle winch but you’re not sure how to use it, there are several things to learn before operating it. Using a winch correctly will help keep people safe and lengthen the life of the product.
Our two-part overview will help you understand the basics of how to use and care for an electric winch.
Stretching a winch line
Once properly installed, a new winch owner should stretch the winch’s rope before using it. No matter if it’s synthetic or wire material, stretching a winch line involves putting it under light tension to get the rope wound tight and evenly on the drum. By doing this, the line won’t get bunched up and crushed during a vehicle recovery while winching, thus extending the rope’s service life.
The old adage rings true: Practice makes perfect (especially when using an electric vehicle winch). Not only will owners become confident during vehicle recoveries, but they’ll also help create positive situations instead of stressful ones.
Pre-winching pro tips:
Think through all recovery options and if winching is the best solution, assess the situation thoroughly before the vehicle recovery can begin.
Determine who will be responsible for the winching recovery equipment rigging and who will manage the vehicle being recovered before recovery begins.
Identify nearby “danger areas” before use. Also, do not have others stand closer than the amount of line that’s pulled out from the winch drum. For example, if 75 feet of line is pulled out, people should be 76 feet away (or further) from the recovery area. This will help prevent injury should a line break and swing back in any given direction.
Use a set of heavy-duty winching gloves during recovery—they’ll protect hands from rope burn, metal burrs or other sharp things the rope may pick up during the process.
The winch operator should be in a safe place while winching. We usually recommend inside the vehicle for added protection. Let the vehicle protect you. Its body panels are much stronger than your own in case a line breaks or other recovery issues happens.
5 basic winching tips:
Do not step over or on the winch line once it’s connected to the vehicle being recovered or under tension in case a vehicle shifts. If a vehicle happens to move, the rope could come under immediate tension and injure someone crossing over the line.
Put a heavy bag, floor mats or a winch line damper on the winch line before executing a vehicle recovery. Putting weight on a winch line will help it fall to the ground in the unlikely event of a winch line failure.
If using winch hook or open-looped system to connect the winch line, always remember to “hook up” the hook’s opening pointing towards the sky. If the winch line goes into a slack situation, the rigging will go into the hook’s throat, versus onto the safety clast. In the unlikely event of a hook failure, this will also help the winch line fall to the ground versus through the air should the winch line break.
Once everything is rigged and recovery can begin, start the vehicle’s engine that will be doing the winching and rev it to 1,500 RPM when actively winching. This gives the engine’s alternator an extra boost during the process.
Before beginning, place the winching vehicle’s transmission in neutral, put the emergency brake on, and put your foot on the brake. Pro tip: Do not have your vehicle in park (if it’s an automatic) while winching. You could potentially break the transmission’s parking pawl, causing a costly transmission repair bill.
In part two, we’ll expand on the use of a vehicle-mounted electric winch. And if you haven’t bought your winch yet, be sure to check out our article on winch-buying tips.
All photos on this page by Mercedes Lilienthal.
Editor’s note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Links in this post are part of the affiliate advertising program, and we earn a commission on each sale.
Mercedes Lilienthal is a contributor for The New York Times, Car and Driver, Forbes, Autoblog, TREAD Magazine and other automotive outlets. She creates award-winning content involving the automotive industry, global travel and inspiring people changing the world for the better. Not only does she write, but she appears on podcasts and radio shows and competes in automotive rallies as competitor/media (partnering with automakers like Jeep, Subaru, and VW). Along with her husband, Mercedes owns three right-hand-drive turbo-diesel 4x4 Mitsubishis: a Delica Space Gear and two Gen 2 Pajeros. They also own a modified daily driver. Her freelance work includes writing, photography and PR/marketing services.
Living in the heart of a bustling city is a unique experience. The vibrant energy, cultural attractions, and job opportunities are enticing, but there’s no denying the challenges that come with city life, especially regarding urban transportation. In a concrete jungle where every inch of pavement is precious, having the right compact car can make your daily commute and errands a breeze. This comprehensive guide by SCA, a car auction in Las Vegas, will explore the top five compact cars ideally suited for city living. These vehicles excel in maneuverability and efficiency, making them the ideal companions for quickly navigating the urban landscape. 1. Honda Fit: A compact marvel Regarding skill and practicality in the city, the Honda Fit shines brightly. Its compact size makes it a parallel parking champion, effortlessly slipping into those tight curbside spots that can be the bane of city drivers. But the Fit’s real ace in the hole is its innovative Magic Seat feature, which allows you to configure the rear seats in various ways to maximize cargo space. This flexibility is a game-changer when transporting anything from groceries to furniture. Plus, the Fit’s impressive fuel efficiency means you won’t break the bank at the pump during your daily urban adventures. With its responsive engine and agile handling, it’s not just a city car; it’s a city conqueror. 2. Toyota Corolla: Time-tested dependability The Toyota Corolla is synonymous with reliability and is a trusted choice for urban commuters. Its compact frame and precise steering make navigating through congested city streets a breeze. Whether darting through traffic or cruising down boulevards, the Corolla’s fuel efficiency keeps you moving without frequent stops at the gas station. In recent years, Toyota has given the Corolla a refreshing facelift, updating its design and technology. It’s even more appealing for those who value practicality and style in their city cars. The Corolla’s legendary reputation for longevity ensures it’ll be your reliable companion for countless city adventures. 3. Hyundai Kona: The urban SUV Compact SUVs have gained popularity for their versatility, and the Hyundai Kona is a prime example of an urban-friendly SUV. Its slightly elevated driving position provides excellent visibility, which can be a game-changer when navigating the maze of city streets. Don’t let its small size fool you; the Kona offers more cargo space than many traditional compact cars, making it a great choice for those who need to haul groceries or sports equipment. If your city adventures occasionally take you off the beaten path, the available all-wheel drive ensures you’re prepared for whatever road conditions the urban environment throws. 4. Mazda CX-3: Sporty agility in the city Mazda is known for infusing its vehicles with sportiness, and the CX-3 is no exception. This subcompact SUV boasts Mazda’s sleek and eye-catching design, making it a stylish choice for city dwellers. While small, the CX-3’s interior is surprisingly upscale, offering a premium experience that belies its price point. Regarding city driving, the CX-3 excels with its responsive steering and sporty handling. Navigating through congested traffic becomes a joy rather than a chore. Furthermore, its fuel-efficient engine means you’ll spend less time and money at the pump—a definite perk for those who frequently commute in the city. 5. Volkswagen Golf: The well-rounded performer The Volkswagen Golf has carved out a niche as a well-rounded compact car that excels in city and highway settings. Its compact dimensions make it easy to maneuver through tight spots and squeeze into those elusive parking spaces. But the natural beauty of the Golf lies in its hatchback design, which offers versatility for city living. Whether you’re packing for groceries, packing for a weekend getaway, or simply needing extra room for sports gear, the Golf has you covered. Its turbocharged engine delivers ample power for city driving, ensuring you can confidently zip through traffic. Inside, the Golf offers a refined interior that adds a touch of sophistication to your daily commute. Factors to consider for your ideal city car When choosing the ideal compact car for city living, several factors come into play: Parking ease: Parallel parking and squeezing into tight spaces are daily challenges in the city. Look for a compact car with a small turning radius and good visibility to make parking stress-free. Fuel efficiency: Frequent stop-and-go traffic can be tough on your wallet if your car isn’t fuel-efficient. Opt for a vehicle that maximizes miles per gallon to keep your urban adventures affordable. Cargo space: Consider your lifestyle and needs. A hatchback or a compact SUV with versatile cargo space can make your city life more convenient, especially if you frequently run errands or need to transport larger items. Maneuverability: City driving often involves quick lane changes and navigating through congested streets. A car with responsive steering and agile handling can make your daily commute more enjoyable. Style and comfort: Your car is an extension of your personality. Choose a vehicle that reflects your style while providing a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience. In conclusion, the right compact car can significantly enhance your city living experience. These top five options offer a winning combination of practicality, maneuverability, and efficiency, making them excellent choices for urban commuters. Whether you’re weaving through traffic, parking in tight spots, or enjoying the city’s energy, these compact cars will be your trusty companions on your urban adventures.
Off-roading is more than just a recreational pastime—it’s a passion that demands the very best from both driver and vehicle in the harshest off-road terrains imaginable. Whether you’re navigating muddy backroads or tackling steep, sandy inclines, ensuring your 4×4 is well-equipped can be the difference between a thrilling adventure and a potential disaster. Among the myriad upgrades available to 4×4 aficionados, the differential (diff) drop kit stands out. But not many people know what this vital upgrade is, or does. But there are a few reasons why every off-roader should consider a diff drop kit as essential 4×4 gear, so let’s dive in. Understanding the differential drop kit At its core, the differential drop kit is designed to correct the angle of the CV (Constant Velocity) joints after a 4×4 has been lifted. Most 4×4 enthusiasts are familiar with the perks that come from lifting their vehicles. Yet, this very enhancement can inadvertently increase strain on the CV joints, particularly when the lift is more than 2 inches. As the name suggests, a diff drop kit “drops” the front differential, restoring the CV joint angles to near factory settings, thereby reducing wear and potential breakage. Think of it as giving your 4×4 a pair of comfortable shoes after a growth spurt. The lift is the growth, elevating your vehicle higher off the ground and providing greater clearance for tackling those rugged terrains. The diff drop kit is like the insole, ensuring that the CV joints, or the feet of your vehicle, are comfortably operating at optimal angles and can work unimpeded. The tangible benefits Longevity of CV Joints: Regular off-roading with a lifted vehicle and no differential correction can lead to premature wear and tear of the CV joints. A worn-out CV joint doesn’t just compromise the driving experience; it can lead to costly repairs. The diff drop kit effectively increases the lifespan of these joints, ensuring you get more miles out of your beloved 4×4. Improved Ride Comfort: It’s not just about durability. By maintaining the correct CV joint angles, a diff drop kit can also enhance the overall driving experience. Drivers often report smoother rides and reduced vibrations after installing a kit—a welcome benefit after a long day on the trails. Cost-Effectiveness: Given the potential savings from avoiding early CV joint replacements and other related repairs, the investment in a diff drop kit is a no-brainer. Moreover, many kits on the market are reasonably priced, making them accessible to even newbie off-roaders. Casual thoughts, professional insights It’s easy to get caught up in the world of 4×4 enhancements, from flashy wheels to powerful lighting kits. However, sometimes the most impactful upgrades are the ones less spoken about, quietly ensuring your vehicle remains a reliable companion on your many adventures. The diff drop kit is one such unsung hero. It might not win you style points at the next off-roading event, but it will ensure you and your 4×4 return home safely, time and time again. To every 4×4 enthusiast reading this, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned pro or a weekend warrior, don’t overlook the humble diff drop kit. After all, every successful off-roading trip is built on the foundation of a well-maintained vehicle. And as we’ve explored, this seemingly modest kit offers an array of benefits that can keep the thrill of the journey alive, while ensuring the longevity of your prized 4×4. Considering your choices As with most aftermarket parts, the market for diff drop kits is vast, offering a range of options for the discerning 4×4 owner. The key is to select a kit tailored to your vehicle’s make and model, and to the degree of lift you’ve applied. It’s worth doing some thorough research and consulting with professionals or fellow enthusiasts to ensure you’re making the best choice for your specific needs. Installation and maintenance While many off-roading enthusiasts take pride in their DIY capabilities, installing a diff drop kit might not be a beginner’s task. It involves a nuanced understanding of your vehicle’s undercarriage and the dynamics of its suspension system. If you’re unsure about the process, seeking professional assistance can save you a lot of hassle, and eliminate the risk of any potential mistakes. Remember, the goal is to optimize the performance and safety of your 4×4, so there’s no harm in enlisting expert help. Once installed, maintenance is relatively straightforward. Regular inspections after your off-roading adventures are a good idea, checking for any signs of wear or damage. While the diff drop kit itself is durable, ensuring the overall health of your vehicle’s undercarriage will provide peace of mind during those more challenging trails. Conclusion The world of off-roading offers endless excitement and challenges. However, with these challenges comes the responsibility of ensuring your 4×4 is up to the task. While there are countless upgrades to consider, prioritizing the health of your CV joints with a diff drop kit should be near the top of your list. It’s a testament to the saying: “Take care of your equipment, and it’ll take care of you.” To wrap it up, every off-road enthusiast’s toolkit should consider including the differential drop kit. Not just as an accessory, but as a vital component. After all, amidst all the thrill and mud-splattered glory of the trails, it’s the quiet assurance of a well-maintained vehicle that truly makes the adventure worth it. Safe travels and happy off-roading!
When it comes to finding unique and affordable vehicles, public car auctions in Texas offer a treasure trove of hidden gems. Whether you’re a classic truck enthusiast, an exotic car aficionado, or simply someone looking for a great deal on a reliable crossover, these auctions have something for everyone. In this article, we will explore the world of Texas’ public car auctions, from the classics that evoke nostalgia to the exotics that turn heads, and the trucks we all treasure. So buckle up, and join us on this journey through the exciting and diverse world of car auctions in the Lone Star State. The excitement of bidding During public car auctions in Texas, the adrenaline is palpable as bidders compete for their dream vehicles. The thrill of raising that bidding paddle and outbidding fellow enthusiasts is an experience like no other. The competitive atmosphere at these auctions adds an element of excitement, as bidders come prepared to battle it out, making every auction a nail-biting event. Classic machines: Nostalgia on wheels Texas car auctions are a haven for classic car enthusiasts. From vintage Fords to iconic Chevrolets, these auctions transport you back in time and offer a glimpse into the past that is actually obtainable. Furthermore, many bidders purchase classic automobiles at these auctions with the intention of restoring them to their former glory. Restoring classic vehicles is a labor of love that pays homage to automotive history, and oftentimes, an auction allows you to get that project vehicle (or donor chassis) on the cheap. Exotic cars: Luxury and prestige Texas’ public car auctions also feature a stunning array of exotic cars. These high-performance machines exude luxury and prestige that go well beyond the ordinary. Believe it or not, you can find affordable exotic cars at these auctions. It’s an opportunity to own a piece of the luxury automotive world without breaking the bank. Hidden gems for every budget One of the most remarkable aspects of Texas’ public car auctions, is the wide range of vehicles available. Whether you have a modest budget or deep pockets, the variety of choices at one of these auctions helps guarantee that there’s always something for everyone. So even if you’re on a tight budget, you can uncover hidden gems. Budget-friendly finds aren’t just about the price; it’s about finding a vehicle that precisely fits your needs. The auction process Before the bidding begins, attendees must register and inspect the vehicles they’re interested in. This registration and inspection step ensures transparency and fairness. After that, it’s time for the auctioneer’s chant. A rhythmic and fast-paced chant of the auctioneer adds to the excitement. Just be forewarned that keeping up with the bidding requires sharp attention to detail, a keen ear, and quick reflexes. Tips for success To avoid overspending, it’s crucial to set a budget before attending an auction. Set a budget and stick to it to ensure you get a great deal. Also, do your research and know the market value of the vehicles you’re interested in. Research their history, condition, and estimated auction prices so you don’t overspend or miss out on the chance to score a sweet deal. Conclusion Texas public car auctions offer an incredible opportunity to explore the world of classic and exotic cars while providing budget-friendly options for all. The thrill of bidding, the nostalgia of classic cars, and the allure of exotic vehicles make these auctions a must-visit for any automobile enthusiast. So, whether you’re seeking a piece of automotive history, a taste of luxury, or just a cheap farm truck, head to a Texas public car auction and discover the hidden gems waiting for you. FAQs Q1: How do I find public car auctions in Texas? You can search online for upcoming public car auctions in Texas or check with local auction houses for event listings. Q2: Are these auctions open to the public? Yes, public car auctions in Texas are typically open to anyone interested in bidding on vehicles. Q3: Do I need a special license to participate in these auctions? No, you generally do not need a special license to participate in Texas public car auctions. Q4: Can I inspect the cars before bidding? Yes, most auctions allow you to inspect the vehicles before bidding to assess their condition. Q5: Are there any hidden fees associated with winning a bid? It’s essential to check the auction’s terms and conditions, as there may be additional fees, such as buyer’s premiums, associated with winning bids.
Being a commercial truck driver may sound easy, but there’s a ton of red tape that comes along with this occupation. Take your DOT (Department of Transportation) number assignment status for instance. This number is a unique identifier that is assigned to commercial vehicles used in interstate or intrastate operations. Issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these identifications help the government track a company’s safety records and compliance levels with federal regulations. So if you are a truck driver or a commercial motor carrier businessman, or are considering becoming one, you will need to apply for this number to ensure your legal compliance. On the upside, a DOT certification does provide businesses with a multitude of benefits, with the following being widely considered as the top four benefits. Regulatory compliance Ensuring compliance with federal regulations is very important, which is precisely what the DOT number provides you with as an operator. The FMCSA makes it mandatory that commercial vehicles engaged in interstate commerce, or anyone involved in activities that impact interstate commerce, have a DOT number. If not, you run the risk of being heavily fined. This includes vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or a combined gross vehicle weight rating (CGVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more. When you get a US DOT number from your state, it shows that you are committed to adhering to industry-specific safety standards and regulations and that you are a professional. Additionally, it provides you with the ability to easily cross state lines without any problems or fines. Enhanced safety A DOT number is a crucial aspect in ensuring the safety of your vehicle and freight. This is specially designed for assessing your vehicle on the basis of several safety-related metrics, as it is a vehicle that carries heavy loads for long hauls. This assessment includes crash history, inspection results, and compliance with state and federal regulations. After ensuring that everything checks out, the institution will provide you with a US DOT number. Once you receive your DOT number, your fleet’s safety reports will be continuously monitored. On the upside, this can eventually lead to safer operations and reduced chances of dangerous incidents or violations. Increased credibility and trust When you have a DOT number on your commercial vehicle, it conveys a message that you are in compliance with all state regulations. It shows that you are a professional, and serves as proof that you, your company, and any of its drivers are committed to operating legally and safely within government-mandated parameters. This often leads to new business opportunities, as many shippers and brokers will only consider businesses that have a valid DOT number that is in good standing. Access to federal contracts and grants Many commercial carrier businesses get government contracts or grants based on their authority in the field. When you have a DOT number for your vehicles, you are more likely to be offered these contracts and grants from government agencies, like the defense department or administrative departments for instance. All thanks to your DOT number establishing your company as a reliable and authoritative source of shipping and logistics, thus making you a vital resource for government agencies.
May it be a truck, SUV, crossover, or subcompact, shipping cars overseas can be an overwhelming task. But with the proper preparation and guidance, the process can be hassle-free and secure. Whether you’re relocating, selling a vehicle, or want to bring your vehicle along for an extended vacation, this guide is tailored for you. So dive in and discover all of the invaluable insights and tips to ensure a smooth and worry-free journey for you and your automobile. Key takeaways: ● Researching and selecting the right car shipping company is crucial for a hassle-free experience. ● There are different shipping methods available, such as consolidated vehicle shipping, sole container shipping, and RORO shipping, each with its pros and cons. ● Understanding the cost factors and researching prices will help you find the best shipping option for your budget. ● Considering insurance coverage is essential to protect your vehicle during transit. Differences between car shipping companies and agents When shipping your car internationally, selecting the right shipping agent and a shipping company with expertise in overseas vehicle transport is essential. Here, we’ve got some friendly pointers to help you choose. Shipping companies own and operate ships, providing maritime transportation services for goods. They are responsible for the vessels and their crew, ensuring the ships are maintained, stocked, and operated safely. These companies not only offer transportation services but also determine the optimal routes and schedules. On the other hand, shipping agents act as intermediaries or representatives for the ship owner or operator within a specific port. Their role is multifaceted: they manage essential services a ship requires upon arriving at a port, such as arranging pilotage, coordinating tug services, liaising with port authorities, and handling cargo documentation. Shipping agents also ensure all port duties and fees are settled and might coordinate bunkering or provisions for the ship. Additionally, shipping agents assist with customs clearances and can arrange for repairs or maintenance when necessary. How to choose the right shipping company and agent ● Research Potential Companies and Agents: Start by researching and comparing different shipping agents. Look for reviews and ratings online, and ask for recommendations from friends and family members who have shipped their cars overseas. Make a list of potential shipping agents and compare their services, pricing, and reputation. ● Check for Credentials and Licensing: Ensure that the shipping company and agent are licensed by relevant authorities. For maritime agents in the US, for example, check with the Federal Maritime Commission. ● Obtain Multiple Quotes: Price is a factor, but it shouldn’t be the only one. However, getting multiple quotes helps you understand the market rate and ensures you get value for money. Ensure the quotes cover all costs so there are no hidden fees later. ● Insurance and Liability: Ensure the company has appropriate insurance coverage to protect your goods. Understand the terms of their liability and the process for claims should any damage or loss occur. In addition, you should pay attention to their customer service. Because effective communication is vital. The company or agent should be responsive to your queries. Consider their problem-solving approach. Issues can arise in shipping, but how they’re handled that counts. Furthermore, companies and agents with a long-standing presence in the industry are often more reliable. They’ve encountered and overcome a variety of challenges over time. Forms and documentations Before shipping your car overseas, it’s crucial to determine the required documents to avoid unnecessary tasks. Essential documents typically include a bill of lading, which details your shipment specifics, a certificate of origin, and a commercial invoice. Different countries have different regulations on importing and exporting cars. It is crucial to research the regulations for the country you are shipping to and from, making sure your car meets the requirements. Shipping methods for transporting cars overseas Shipping a car overseas requires careful consideration of how it’ll be transported. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice depends on factors like your budget, urgency, and concern for your vehicle’s protection. The best method for you hinges on what you prioritize more. If you’re seeking a balance, consolidated shipping might be the answer. If you want the quickest and most secure option, a sole container could be the way. For those on a tighter budget, RORO could work wonders. ● Consolidated Vehicle Shipping This is the most commonly used method. Here, your car shares container space with other vehicles all headed for the same destination. Pros: It provides the safety of containerized shipment. Plus, it’s usually cheaper since the cost is split among several clients. Cons: It might take longer because the container needs to be filled with other vehicles before shipping. ● Sole Container Shipping If speed is a priority, you might opt for this. Your vehicle enjoys its private container. Pros: Faster shipping times and enhanced security and privacy for your car. Cons: This method can be pricier since you’re not sharing the cost with others. ● RORO Shipping (Roll-On/Roll-Off) In this way, cars are driven directly onto a specialized ship. Think of it as a floating parking garage. Pros: Generally more affordable and efficient in terms of loading and unloading. Cons: Your car is exposed to the elements throughout the journey, which might be a concern for some owners. Cost of shipping vehicles overseas Before shipping your car overseas, it’s essential to understand the cost involved and conduct thorough cost research to ensure you get the best deal. Shipping a car internationally can be a significant investment, and by understanding the factors that influence the cost, you can make informed decisions and avoid any unexpected expenses. Factors that affect cost The cost of shipping a car overseas can vary depending on several crucial factors: ● Distance from your home to a major seaport: If you live far from a sea terminal, you may need to hire a local auto shipper to transport your car to the nearest shipping dock. The cost of this transportation will depend on your location and the size of your vehicle. ● Distance to the destination country: The distance to […]