Last April, I was at Jeep Beach 2014 taking pictures for BF Goodrich Tires. While I was there talking with designers and manufactures of different off-road products, I happened upon a nifty little invention called the Trac-Grabber.
The Trac-Grabber is a device that you can attach to your vehicle’s tires in the event that you lose traction and become stuck. It’s a compact and simple design comprised of a pair of high density rubber blocks using nylon straps to hold the blocks in place on the tires to lift and add traction. It’s a tool which allows someone to self rescue a vehicle simply by attaching Trac-Grabbers to the “drive wheels” and then driving the vehicle in the direction of least resistance towards stable terrain. There are two sizes of the Trac-Grabber, a small version for passenger cars and ATV’s and another version for vehicles with larger tires.
I spoke with the designer Jim Perry about different situations that the Trac-Grabber might be useful and he explained to me how the Trac-Grabber final design came about. He offered me three sets of the Trac-Grabber for larger tires to review and to share with other drivers so they could test the product out for themselves.
Now, it’s not every day that drivers go out and arbitrarily get stranded, but as luck would have it I know a few off road enthusiasts that sometimes find themselves in trouble. I took the Trac-Grabbers out to meet with the Calossa Jeepers Club for their 3rd Annual “Go Topless Day” at the Lazy Springs ORV Park for an afternoon of wheeling in the mud, in the sand, and on the rocks. I didn’t have to wait very long to find the some volunteers to test the Trac-Grabbers.
Here’s what I learned about the product after a day of testing. First of all, the consumer has to ensure that the Trac-Grabber is suited for the vehicle. The rims must be an open type design in order to allow the strap of the Trac-Grabber to loop through and around the wheel. Also, there needs to be enough clearance for the Trac-Grabber to be strapped to the wheel without hitting the fender or other components. Trac-Grabbers are sold in pairs and come with printed instructions which I highly recommend the user read and follow in order to get the most efficient results. The Trac-Grabber appears to be best suited to assist vehicles that are stuck in the sand or mud (and should work just as well in snow). At the end of the day, I decided to push the limits of the Trac-Grabber and use it on a Jeep that had become high-centered while trying to climb on some rocks. The driver strapped Trac-Grabbers on all four wheels vehicle and slowly attempted to drive back down the hill. The Trac-Grabbers lifted the Jeep and provide enough traction to get the vehicle off the obstacle. However, one Trac-Grabber had the strap cut by a rough edge on the left-rear wheel. Also, the force and weight of the vehicle against the rocks shifted the Trac-Grabbers on the other tires and the straps became very tight and difficult to remove. We learned that by driving so that the tire and weight of the vehicle was on top of rubber portion of the Trac-Grabber lessened the tension on the strap so it could be removed.
Overall the Trac-Grabbers are a pretty ingenious and yet simple way for a motorist to avoid being stuck and stranded in a bad situation. To learn more about this product, check out www.tracgrabber.com .