SINCE wheels have been on vehicles people have been seeking ways to gain traction in adverse conditions.
Chucking sticks, rocks or anything you can find with enough substance to aid in tyre grip has been a long-time, last-minute attempt at getting unstuck, with varying rates of success.
The problem is, more often than not, branches, sticks and rocks get left in bog holes, waiting to puncture the next unlucky tyre carcass that rolls through the goop. Enter the Trac-Grabber, a simple strap-on lump of rubber that acts as an effective self-extraction tool and avoids leaving behind sharp-ended, tyre-popping probes that litter our boggy tracks.
Opposite Lock is the Australian importer and seller of the American-sourced, selfrecovery product that is well-suited for use in mud, sand and snow. They are easy to install and offer an extremely durable and rugged strap, with double D-rings and Velcro to hold the rubber ‘lug’ in place.
Check that the strap doesn’t foul on steering, brake or suspension components prior to going at it hammer and tong in the heat of battle. Also ensure the rubber lug doesn’t hit panel work or any other part of your pride and joy. On my Land Cruiser Troopcarrier there were no problems with clearances and the kit fitted nicely.
Once we’d suitably bogged the Troopy down to the axles in the sand, we strapped on the two Trac-Grabbers (one on each rear wheel) and managed to claw our way
out in reverse. The Trac-Grabber kit comes with two units, and you could use both on the one wheel or one on each of any of your four wheels (whichever suits the pickle you’ve got yourself into).
Looking for snow in the height of summer on the mid-north coast of NSW, or mud during drought conditions, was never going to happen – so we might give them a run in the snow and mud at a later date.
The one-size-fits-all kit, as well as the 116cm-long strap with Velcro tabs, means it should fit most road tyres. The block dimensions (22.2cm long, 8.9cm wide and 3.8cm deep) fit perfectly onto 285/75R16 (33-inch) rubber. Note: Velcro isn’t the main securing device – the double D-rings secure the device, while the Velcro prevents the tail of the strap flopping around in your wheel arches.
The device is for low-speed driving only, not long distance and medium- or high-speed driving. The effects of adding two huge lumps of rubber to your nicely balanced wheels will be felt. And, as a precaution to not damaging diff centres or CVs, it’s a good idea to go easy on the load pedal as there is a huge temporary increase in grip as each rubber lug comes into contact with the ground.
Another advantage of the Trac-Grabber is that it can be used in both forward and reverse directions, so these are a great way to get unstuck regardless of which way you’re trying to extract your vehicle.
The Trac-Grabber won’t replace a traction board, but the small size of the device means that it can be packed away and brought out only when you desperately need it.
To watch it in action, head to: www.4x4australia.com.au.