How to Use the Bush Winch

Extreme off-roading is virtually impossible without having a winch attached to the car. And when it comes to winches, the choice of operating concept is not all that great, as, for all intents and purposes, the vast majority of them come equipped with motors to help the cable move along.
Bush winch attached to a wheel 1 photo
Photo: Bush
There are only a few other options on the market when it comes to getting out of sticky situations, and pretty much only one that does not require any motor. Since the vehicle itself has lots of moving parts, why not make use of them to pull the car out of or to the desired location?

Back in 2005, an Australian company which goes by the name of Bush Winches presented a lightweight self-recovery system that can be easily be attached to any car in trouble. Simply called the Bush Winch, the system is essentially comprised of a rope, some wheel nuts, and a wheel rim.


Unlike powered winches, which need to be attached to the front or rear of the car, the Bush Winch is used by attaching it to the wheel rims.

Before starting the attaching operation, make sure the car is in gear, and the handbrake is on. Ideally, if the car is a 4x4, the winch is to be fitted on the back wheels to reduce the load on steering.

The first step is to replace the nuts on the wheels of the vehicle with the nuts that come with the Bush system. The nuts should be tightened to the same torque setting recommended by the vehicle manufacturer for the original ones.

The rim of the winch can be attached by aligning the holes in the base plate with the wheel nuts and then by twisting in the opposite direction to the wheel rotation.

Once these steps are completed, the rope is to be woven through the cut-outs in the spool. When used, the rope stays on the spool thanks to the friction generated.

The operation must be repeated, if needed, for the wheel on the other side as well. With the winch attached to the wheels, the driver must then go and find an anchor point -one for each of the wheels - that is to be used to get the car out of trouble. As soon as that is done, the rescue operation can begin.

Once in the driver's seat, one can start using the car’s own engine to get out of the sticky situation. The engine must be maintained at low revs and speed should be very low as well, to allow the winch to do its jobs and the wheels to gain traction.


According to the manufacturer, the Bush Winch can be used regardless of the type of traction configuration of the car: 2WD, AWD or 4WD. It is of no consequence whether the car is manual or automatic or whether the traction control is present. A differential lock is not required, and the system does not need additional equipment like a motor or a bull bar.

Unlike conventionally powered winches, Bush has no maximum pulling power, except that given by the power of the car’s engine itself.
The fact that it can be fitted on the wheels means it can be used to get the car out of trouble be it by going forward or backward. The system can be used both on regular and alloy rims. There are, of course, some types of wheels on which the system might not be able to work properly. You can check on what wheels the Bush winch can be attached to by following this link.

Additional information can be found in the document attached below.

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 Download: Bush winch operating manual (PDF)

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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