difference between recovery strap and tow strap

difference between recovery strap and tow strap

Recovery straps and tow straps are both strong, elastic rope- or webbing-like straps designed for towing, pulling and dragging. They are commonly used in vehicle recovery to help tow and/or pull another vehicle out of a tough spot, such as mud or snow.

However, although they look similar and share some common features, each type of strap has its own specific purpose and should not be used interchangeably.

What is a Recovery Strap?

A recovery strap is generally made of a softer material that is thicker in width and much more elastic than a regular tow strap. It looks very similar to a bungee cord, except that recovery straps are specially designed with reinforced looped ends that make it easier to attach them securely to towing vehicles.

The reason why recovery straps are so elastic is that they are meant to store and release the kinetic energy generated during a vehicle pull. This is known as “elasticity”, and it helps to reduce tension on the towing vehicle when the second vehicle is suddenly freed from its stuck spot.

The stretch in recovery straps also cushions the shock of the towed vehicle tugging on the towing vehicle as it is suddenly yanked forward, helping to protect both vehicles from unnecessary damage.

What is a Tow Strap?

In contrast, a tow strap is narrower in width, usually around two inches, and made of a firmer, less flexible material such as nylon. Unlike a recovery strap, a tow strap does not store energy—it is used primarily to pull two vehicles together in a straight line pull.

It is important to note that tow straps are not designed with the same amount of elasticity as a recovery strap, which means they should not be used in situations involving sudden, jerky movements or sharp turns, as this could cause undue stress on the rope and to the towing vehicle.

Furthermore, tow straps are designed for short to medium-length pulls of no more than 30 feet and are best suited for situations where the vehicle being towed is free-rolling or has some forward traction.

What Are the Differences Between a Recovery Strap and a Tow Strap?

The main difference between a recovery strap and a tow strap is that a recovery strap is more elastic and shock-absorbent, while a tow strap is firmer and only meant to be used for straight-line pulls.

A recovery strap is designed to be used in any vehicle recovery situation, such as pulling a stuck vehicle out of mud, snow or sand, while a tow strap is best suited for towing two vehicles together in a straight line pull and should not be used in any situation that involves sudden jerking movements.

Additionally, recovery straps are usually thicker and wider than tow straps, and should never be used for towing as this could damage the rope’s elasticity and potentially cause it to eak.

Finally, when it comes to towing, it is always best to use the correct strap for the situation, otherwise you could be putting both vehicles at risk of serious and costly damages.

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