Can A Comealong Be Used For Lifting?

My brother’s vehicle broke down recently and had to be towed to a mechanical workshop. He only has one vehicle, so he asked me to take him to the workshop to check up on the progress of his vehicle. When we arrived at the workshop, I noticed that the engine was hanging from a come-along, and this made me wonder: “Can a come-along be used for lifting?”

Manufacturers of devices that can lift a load have specific applications in mind for their products when they are made available to consumers. A come-along is not designed to lift loads but instead to pull loads. A come-along is used by certain people even though experts do not recommend it.

After we left the workshop, I started researching if you can use a come-along for lifting, and I will share my research in this article. I also visited another workshop to see what lifting devices they lift engines from vehicles, turns out they use hoists. I spoke to lifting experts, who do not recommend that people use a come-along for lifting; they say serious harm can happen.

Can A Come-Along Lift Loads?

 A come-along is a device that is designed and manufactured to pull loads within a specified capacity. Some manufacturers mention applications in the user manuals, including camping, farming, and hunting. Experts in the lifting industry do not suggest that you use a come-along to lift loads purely because of the intended use and application of a come-along.

The following factors can cause people to use a come-along to lift loads even though it goes against lifting protocols that are used widely in workplaces around the world:

  • When there is a lack of accountability, it leads to poor discipline that will result in general negligence inside the organization. It means that workers don’t care if they break the rules because there are no consequences.
  • Risk assessments are crucial to properly managing hazards; if the risk assessments are not done or done correctly, workers will use equipment like come-alongs for the wrong application.
  • When workers are not trained in using a come-along correctly, they will not even know that they are using the device in the wrong application. A lack of training and understanding always leads to some unwanted incidents.

Health and safety professionals use a range of resources to set up workplace procedures like user manuals, codes of practice, and legislation to compile documents for workplaces to make lifting operations as safe as possible. A proper safety program will not allow the use of come-along for lifting.

What Can A Come-Along Be Used For?

It is evident that a come-along should not be used for lifting. The other term that people use to describe a come-along is a cable puller, which gives a clear indication of the true suitability of this device. Remember that using a device like this for something it was not designed for can be dangerous. A come-along can be used for the following applications.

  • You can use a come-along to pull a vehicle from mud, and it is often used in small 4×4 events. If a vehicle gets stuck, a tree is a great anchor point that gives the come-along a good vertical angle to pull the vehicle from the mud.
  • Farmers use a come-along to pull wire for their fencing into the perfect position for attachment. Once again, the data shows that the device is pulling and not lifting.
  • A Shade sail can be difficult to handle, but using a come-along will make this task a breeze because the come-along will pull the shade sail into the correct position in no time.
  • Panelbeaters use a come-along to pull bent, damaged, or dented panels back to their intended locations or at least closer to where they should be.

There are many other situations in which a come-along can be used. The important thing that needs to be remembered is that a secure point of attachment needs to be selected and that the loads that need to be pulled stay within the rated capacity of the come-along.

Why A Come-Along Should Not Be Used For Lifting

A come-along becomes dangerous when it is used to lift loads in a vertical position. The consequences that can follow when a come-along is used at the wrong angle are contained in the table below:

What Can Happen?What can be done to prevent it?
People can be injured.Injuries can be prevented if machines like a come-along are used according to set policies and procedures and if the training programs that employers provide are followed.
The Come-along can break.The come-along needs to be used according to the recommendations of the manufacturer. Using a lifting device like a hoist instead of a come-along is best.
The ratchet of the Come-along can slip when you lower a load from a horizontal position.It is a well-known fact that the ratchet part of the come-along slips while a load is being lowered horizontally. It’s vital not to use it for horizontal lifting.
The anchor point that the Come-along is attached to can fail.It is important to select an anchor point that fits into the intended use of a come-along. It’s crucial that the anchor point is strong enough for the load within the rated capacity.


It was great to learn about the main function of a come-along and to answer the question through research and expert opinions. People tend to take more chances when they are working at home, and it is in these cases where come-alongs are used outside of their intended applications. My research shows that a come-along is made to pull loads in a vertical position.

There are multiple risk factors when devices are not used for the correct application, including injuries, the breakage of the come-along, and the anchor point can even fail. Manufacturers of come-alongs suggest that users of their devices use them only for pulling and that serious harm can occur if their products are used for lifting. I hope you enjoyed reading about the topic.


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