How to Use a Come Along: A Step-by-Step Guide

A come along, also known as a hand winch or a cable puller, is a versatile tool used for various tasks that require heavy lifting, pulling, or securing objects.

Whether you’re working on a DIY project, automotive repair, or outdoor activities, understanding how to use a come along can be incredibly helpful. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of using a come along safely and effectively.

Step 1: Choose the Right Come Along

Before you start, make sure you select the appropriate come along for your task. Consider factors such as weight capacity, cable length, and the type of job you’re tackling.

Step 2: Inspect the Come Along

Thoroughly inspect the come along for any signs of damage or wear. Check the cable, hooks, gears, and ratcheting mechanism to ensure they are in good working condition. Never use a damaged come along, as it can be unsafe.

Step 3: Secure Anchoring Points

Identify strong and stable anchoring points for both ends of the come along. These points should be able to withstand the force you’re applying.

Attach the hooks of the come along securely to the anchoring points.

Step 4: Position the Come Along

Place the come along between the two anchoring points. Make sure the cable is straight and free from any knots or tangles. The come along should be positioned so that you can operate it comfortably.

Step 5: Extend the Cable

If the come along has a retractable cable, extend it to the desired length. Ensure the cable is taut and properly aligned with the direction you want to pull.

Step 6: Operate the Ratchet

Most come alongs feature a ratcheting mechanism that allows you to pull the cable in a controlled manner. To use the ratchet, follow these steps:

  1. Engage the Ratchet: Pull the ratchet lever to the “release” position and insert the cable into the ratcheting mechanism.
  2. Engage the Pawl: Push the ratchet lever back to the “ratchet” position. This locks the come along, preventing the cable from slipping back.
  3. Start Ratcheting: Begin operating the come along by repeatedly pushing and pulling the ratchet lever. Each time you do this, the cable will move a small distance in the desired direction.

Step 7: Monitor Progress

As you ratchet the cable, keep an eye on the object you’re pulling and the tension in the cable. Make sure everything is moving smoothly and safely. Adjust the anchoring points if necessary to maintain stability.

Step 8: Release the Tension

Once you’ve completed the task, or if you need to readjust the come along, release the tension by pulling the ratchet lever to the “release” position. This will allow you to free the cable from the ratcheting mechanism.

Step 9: Store Properly

After using the come along, store it in a dry and clean place. Make sure the cable is properly wound and the tool is kept away from moisture or extreme temperatures.

Credits: @DIYTechnician


A come along is a valuable tool for lifting, pulling, and securing heavy objects. By following this step-by-step guide, you can safely and effectively use a come along for various tasks, ensuring both your safety and the success of your projects.


Q1: Can I use a come along for vertical lifting?

Yes, many come alongs are designed for both horizontal and vertical lifting. Just ensure that you choose a come along with the appropriate weight capacity for your task.

Q2: Are there any safety precautions I should take when using a come along?

Absolutely. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment, inspect the come along before use, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe operation.

Q3: Can a come along be used for vehicle recovery?

Yes, come alongs are often used for vehicle recovery in off-road situations. However, ensure that the come along’s capacity is suitable for the weight of the vehicle.

Q4: Can I use a come along to replace a traditional winch?

While come alongs are versatile, they may not be as powerful as dedicated winches. Consider the weight and nature of the task before deciding which tool to use.

Q5: Can I use a come along for pulling trees or large logs?

Yes, a come along can be used for pulling trees or large logs. However, ensure you have the necessary equipment and knowledge for safe tree or log removal.

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