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What to Do When Your Argo Gets Stuck

An Argo has the traction to handle everything from rocks to soft mud and the stability to make the steepest climbs. This makes it easy to get overconfident, doing things you shouldn’t be attempting with any off-road vehicle. What can you do if you get your vehicle stuck? These tips will help you make the most of your Argo’s abilities while using winches, recovery straps and other tools to pull your vehicle free.

Driving Out of Jams

Shift into low gear: Using low gear doesn’t just increase wheel torque, it also increases the speed difference between left and right side wheels when turning. In fact, if your XTV is equipped with an Admiral transmission, using low gear will make the inside wheels spin in reverse when the steering is at full lock. This can help push your vehicle out of ruts, so the tires can get some traction.

Lower your tire pressure: The less air there is inside a tire, the more it can flex. This lets the treads shape themselves to the ground and increases the contact patch, giving you more grip. The tires on your Argo can hold as little as 1.5 PSI and still stay on the rim, giving you extra traction on mud and sand.

Using Your Winch

A winch is not a recovery strap. Pulling on it can damage the rope and the spool. However, you can use a stationary vehicle as an anchor point. To pull your vehicle instead of pulling the anchor vehicle, place some blocks behind the anchor vehicle’s wheels.

The anchor point needs to be solid, fixed into place, and as close to straight ahead of your vehicle as possible. Pulling at an angle can cause the cable to wrap on one side of the spool, leading to tangles and chaffing. It also decreases the effective strength of the winch. The more cable you can reel out, the more power the winch can apply to pull your vehicle.

Don’t wrap the cable around the anchor. You’ll save your winch cable and get a more secure attachment point if you wrap the anchor in a length of chain or a tree anchor, then hook the winch hook to this mount.

Place a recovery damper on the cable. This thick piece of fabric absorbs some of the energy of a breaking winch cable. It doesn’t absorb all the energy, so you should still stay clear of the cable when using your winch.

A winch anchor plows into soft dirt, giving you a point to attach your winch. The soil has to be just right for one of these devices to work: if the ground is hard or frozen, the plow can’t be buried. If the ground is too soft, it will pull out once you put some weight on the anchor. Do a few trial runs with your anchor where you’re driving before you depend on it in the wilderness.

Using a Tow Strap

Nylon stretches, which means using a nylon tow strap gradually applies force to the vehicle, which makes towing predictable. Chains and winch cables exert 100% of force when taught, jerking the vehicle. This sudden force can also snap the cable or chain. If you don’t have a tow vehicle to help you, you can still use a tow strap and a come-along to pull your vehicle out of a rut. Straps can be tied to your XTV’s trailer hitch or to the axles.

Making an Anchor

When you’re in a major jam with no place to attach a winch or tow strap, you can make your own anchor.

A stake anchor uses a series of long stakes or rebar and a chain to create an anchor point. Start by driving at least three stakes in the ground at a 35-degree angle and at least two feet deep. Pass each stake through a link in the chain. Now you can connect a winch or tow strap to the end of the chain. As you pull, the angled stakes act like a lever on the soil, keeping them anchored. However, they’re relatively easy to pull straight up for removal. Like anchors, stakes require practice to know the right setup that works with local soil.

A deadman anchor is a solid object, typically a spare tire, buried in the ground. Setting one up can take hours, so it should be your option of last resort. After burying the anchor, dig a trench leading to your vehicle. If the winch cable goes straight down into the covered hole, it will pull out the anchor instead of pulling out your Argo.

We’re Your Argo Headquarters

Looking to upgrade your Argo? Need some repairs after a rough trail ride? Shank’s Argo does more than just sell XTVs. We’re also a full-service shop, and we have a massive inventory of OEM parts and accessories. That means we can install new equipment and make repairs to your vehicle, whether you have a Frontier 6×6, a Conquest Pro or anything in between. Visit us 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. If you need parts and accessories, visit our website, We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

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