Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Don asks: I have a 2018 Jeep Latitude and there are removable inserts in the bumper for your tow hooks. My question is will these work to pull my Jeep from a snow bank or will they pull the supports/bumper off the Renegade?
My reply: I am guessing you are referring to the little plastic knock-offs in the rubber fascia – the body-colored plastic bumper covers many vehicles have. These do indeed hide a place to insert a threaded tow hook – which mounts to the structural beam underneath the fascia.
If you look in your car’s cargo area (check the spare tire gear) you will likely find a short threaded bar with an eye at one end. You pry out the little tab in the fascia, then screw the bar into the nut. You can now tie/hook a strap to the bar and pull your Jeep out of the ditch!
Just be aware these are meant to help get you unstuck, but not to be used like heavy-duty tow hooks such as many trucks and 4×4 vehicles have. Meaning, don’t use them to try to pull a tree down – or another vehicle out of a ditch!
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I’d agree a tow hook should be attached to the “entire” vehicle, not just one side of a frameless vehicle. If you just have trouble with traction, that’s fine, but really pulling something is another. I don’t even like to use just one tow hook.
In the early 70’s I realized I didn’t want my loaded(overloaded)semi pulled by the front axle and around the spring perch when I had to be pulled in some really slick mud trying to get a load of casing to a drilling rig.
I had just seen some wetback on a dozer walk back through the slop, sling a big cable around whatever he could find on a truck, walk back, get on the dozer, haul ass and never look back. That tractor jumped like a piece of dynamite had gone off under it. And then he came for me. I’m not allergic to mud, I wouldn’t be allergic to walking through nose deep shit to not have that happen to my truck.
A guy at the edge of the pad in a rig-up truck was standing their smiling when I wave the dozer off. I was ready to set there till it dried up if no other aid was offered. So I walk towards that guy and he walks toward me and said something like “Didn’t like what you saw? Yeah, I’ll get you up here and handed me the end of the 1.25” cable from his winch. I walked it back a couple hundred feet to my truck, wrapped it around the axle and the spring perch. He just slowly rolled the winch in, no shock, no trauma, just got me on the pad. Muddy nasty? Who cares. That was my truck.
The next day in Odessa I told my BIL who had a welder about it. He agreed I needed a piece of drill stem bolted from one side of the frame to the other and at least a few places to chain and not have it slip to the side.
Since then everything I’ve owned pickup or truck-wise could be towed from either end and use both eyes or either a bumper from hell with a crossbar bolted and then welded to the end of the frame. I had to get up little 4 wd pickup out of a dried up tank that wasn’t so dry. I backed up to it with 24,000 lbs of 4WD tractor, chained a couple wraps around the rear bumper, raised the lift arms that raised the entire pickup except the front wheels off the ground and pulled it out. Other than needing a wash, no harm was done. Same goes for everything else I’ve owned. If it has 4WD and you intend on using such, go the extra length and bolt, weld and any other thing that will tie the entire vehicle together. And this is the reason I don’t want any frameless vehicle. I live in shinery sand and you will hit redbed of you want to dig 28′, otherwise, be prepared to have anything tie on to whatever you’re in. When that 4WD is stuck, it’s stuck front and rear and bad things can happen to all that stuff you can’t see.
BTW, there are tow straps made that stretch like crazy. The towing vehicle can run out till it starts spinning, hold the brakes and drive the towed vehicle….hopefully far enough to get out or get some slack in the strap. These work great for people who don’t have a clue what to do in that situation. I’d say they’re great for women but it’s not all women who don’t have a clue when getting towed. It took me 3 tries to get a 2 WD crewcab Powerstroke pickup out of a barditch that was blowsand. I told the guy to keep his front tires straight. I spun down and it barely moved. I go back, front tires turned full lock. I repeated what I’d told him before. Repeat of first try. I went back that third time and before I could say anything, his wife jumped down his throat and said “The man said to keep your front tires straight!!!”. I went back and pulled him out easily enough. I unchained and could see him getting the rest of his ass-chewing he really deserved. I threw my chain in my pickup and left them to figure out to turn around in the next drive entrance or just take the scenic route and drive to pavement, the only place a 2WD big pickup needs to be.
That’s why purpose-built logging trucks all have a super front bumper and tow point. A guy I used to work for had a KW that had been a Weyerhauser or some such fleet truck. It had rubber pad walking beam, a 13 speed AND a 4 speed Brownie: 52 gears! Also of course this huge channel bumper with a big clevis pin attachment sticking out right in the center.
I was lucky that when I bought my little “log truck” well used that it had been a utility company truck with an aftermarket bumper with tow hooks bolted through the top and into the frame. Not a center point but only about 1/4 or less the gross weight of stuff like you drove. Anyway it worked just fine when I had to call a guy with a dozer (not a “Cat” but about a D-6 size; might have been an Allis?) to get me out of a sinkhole on a switchback on a road they had built.
I pretty much won’t attach anything to anybody else’s vehicle. If they need a tug, I hand them the end of the line and say “here you hook it up.” If the whole front end comes off their outfit then it’s their fault.
“They” say you should never use a trailer ball but I’ve done it for years. I’m pretty sure my old strap will break before the ball. Anyway most things either come right out or don’t at all. I might give it a couple feet of slack and bump it but you’re just asking to wreck one thing or another. Last time I had to pull somebody (in my driveway; this is a good story by itself!), I put the Burban in low range and as soon as the strap was snug I just let off the brake and dragged that Grand Cherokee back like it was a kid’s wagon without touching the gas pedal.
I notice the tow truck operators usually loop a strap through one or more spoked wheels on these newer cars. Apparently the tires dragging is no great impediment considering the fix the car has already been gotten into.