The essential guide to 4x4 recovery points

There’s almost always a chance of getting stuck when you head off-road, which means recovery points are just as important as vehicle protection, adequate suspension and other common 4x4 accessories.

What is a recovery point for and how does it work?

The purpose of a recovery point is to give you a secure and functional attachment point for performing vehicle recoveries using a snatch strap or similar accessory. In Australia, where beach driving is common and off-road terrain is often challenging, the use of recovery points is a natural part of a journey – not the sign of a trip gone wrong.

Recovery points and, more to the point, recovery points that have been tested and rated to handle the extreme strain of a vehicle recovery, are overwhelmingly undervalued and often misunderstood in the off-road community. Evidence of this is seen in the continuous feed of images on social media – both in Australia and across the globe – of snapped-off tow balls lodged in windscreens, body panels or worse from ill-advised vehicle recoveries.

The reason why tow balls are dangerous and why recovery points are safe (for the purposes of 4x4 recovery) is rooted in the way they are mounted to your vehicle. A tow ball is installed on a relatively flimsy tongue away from the strongest part of your vehicle: the chassis. While it’s completely safe for its intended purpose of hitching trailers and more for towing behind your 4x4, when used in vehicle recovery their shortcomings are exposed – turning your tow ball into a spherical missile ready to be slung with immense force.

Recovery points, on the other hand, are designed to withstand the powerful forces required to dislodge a 4WD from a bogged position. Encapsulated within this design is their attachment to your vehicle’s chassis, along with the use of incredibly strong materials such as high tensile bolts.

What is a “rated” recovery point?

A rated recovery point is a recovery point that has been load tested using physical tests or Finite Element Analysis, which uses computer generated modelling to predict how a product will react to real-world forces.

Recovery points that claim to have an ascribed load rating have been proven, using these methods, to withstand the loads specified by its rating.

TJM rated recovery points

Almost all 4x4 accessories manufacturers sell recovery points as part of their range. TJM, however, includes rated recovery points as standard with almost every TJM bull bar. The reason why TJM bull bars can include rated recovery points without any additional structural work to the bar design is due to their uniquely strong winch mounting system.

TJM winch mount frames, which are attached to the bull bar and allow for a recovery winch to be securely mounted behind the bull bar’s protective tubing, feature incredibly strong winch frame bolts between the chassis rails. This design has major advantages over other manufactured bull bars currently available on the market: firstly, it assists in safe and even load distribution during winching applications. Secondly, it optimises the strength of the bull bar during impact situations. The final advantage – and the one most relevant to this conversation – is that a chassis mount winch frame allows rated recovery points to be added to TJM bull bars without any safety or structural compromises.

This means that, when you fit a TJM bull bar to your 4x4, you’re not just purchasing premium frontal vehicle protection that’s ready for winch fitment, but you’re also receiving an essential 4x4 accessory to help you on your next adventure: high-quality rated recovery points.


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