Have you ever seen a chain or strap break while someone is trying to extract a stuck vehicle? If you did and didn’t get hurt, consider yourself lucky. Fred Whitford, director of Purdue University Pesticide Programs, says the force of a broken chain or tow strap can shatter windshields and cause serious injury.
Let’s hope you don’t get stuck, but it will soon be the season of mud and more mud. Should it happen, make sure you use proper devices to remove whatever is stuck.
Look at the chain in the picture. Here are four reasons why Whitford wouldn’t use it. He actually shot this picture looking a the chain in the back of a farmer’s pickup truck parked at a meeting site. Odds are someone used it!
Reason 1: The chain loops are stretched - Look closely.
The chain links aren’t the same size. Odds are good they started out at the same size. The chain has been used and abused until some links are stretched out. A stretched link is a weak leak, and weak links can break.
Reason 2: A bolt holds two sections together - How do you know how strong that bolt is?
The answer is you don’t. Even besides being rusty, you don’t know the hardness of the bolt. If it’s a soft bolt it could break very easily. Regardless, using a chain held together by a bolt in this condition just isn’t a smart idea, Whitford observes.
Reason 3. It’s actually three chains in one!
Look closely and you can tell the links are of different sizes and shapes on the three main pieces. Chances are you have no idea on load ratings for any of the chains. One or more pieces may not have been designed or sold for pulling things. They may have been made for other uses.
Reason 4. It shows a total disregard for safety!
If you asked someone to pull you out of a ditch or out of the mud, and they brought out a chain like this, would you be impressed? Would you let them hook to your vehicle. Remember, you would be the one sitting in the vehicle steering it as the driver attempts to pull you out. If the chain breaks, it’s headed toward your windshield. Bam!