Looking to make your pick-up truck or SUV even more useful? Well, one of your easiest options is to install a winch. A winch is a device equipped with a drum and a length of high-strength cable, designed to make heavy-duty pulling easier. Winches can be installed either on your vehicle's front or rear ends. Imagine how useful a winch can be on the off-road trails, where fallen tree branches or rocks often litter your vehicle's path. With a winch and your vehicle's engine power, you can easily pull these obstructions out of your vehicle's way. Some winches today are even equipped with hydraulic and electric motors that provide additional pulling power. Should you want to mount a winch to your truck or SUV, the first thing you should do is find the right winch for your vehicle model.Check out our catalog at Carparts to quickly locate the perfect winch for your vehicle.
• Guarantees reliable pulling power
• Available in electronic and hydraulic types
• Easy to mount to your truck's front end
Drawing in the Right Winch
A winch in time saves nine-and more, in fact. No one likes getting stuck. If you're a big fan of the great outdoors and have ever faced a situation where you're far from help but found yourself stuck in anything from mud to rough terrain-or worse?then this versatile tool is for you.
What is a winch?
You're actually talking about an entire towing or pulling system when you talk about a winch. The most visible component is, of course, the line or cable itself-but it comprises the drivetrain that handles the physical pulling and the motor that drives the entire operation.
What can I use it for?
Most commonly, a winch is used to tow your truck out of any rut by anchoring it to something rather stable and activating the motor which then pulls the vehicle out. Less common-but important to note-is that you can also use your winch to pull something with the truck serving as anchor.
How do I pick the "right" winch?
Figuring out what your truck can handle and what you expect out of your winch will make for smart shopping. Below are the four most important considerations:
Gross Vehicle Weight x 1.5=Maximum Line Pull
- Weight Matters: The first and most important consideration in purchasing a winch is how much your vehicle weighs-otherwise, it won't do much good at all. A good rule of thumb to follow is to choose a winch with a maximum line pull of at least 1.5 times more than your vehicle's weight.
- Longer is Better: Generally, the more length you have to work with, the better-sometimes you need to stretch far to hook up to a stable anchoring point. Note, however, that longer cable lengths tend to get tangled up and are difficult to untangle. A safe bet is roughly 100 feet of cable.
- A Drivetrain for Every Need: There are generally two kinds that you should consider depending on your needs and your vehicle:
- Planetary Gear: A perfect balance of strength and high torque load resistance, it is also the most compact, making it practical for all-terrain vehicles with limited mounting space. The downside is it requires a brake within its mechanism which can get hot and add to strain when spooling out cable.
- Worm Gear: High endurance and great reliability are what this drivetrain are known for. It eliminates the need for brakes but is heavier, slower, and more expensive than most. You'll want it if you intend to use the winch for longer periods or for heavier loads.
- Electric vs Hydraulic: Hydraulic winches have the advantage of being less vulnerable to friction because they have less mechanical parts-you can essentially winch forever if you wanted to. They are rarer and more costly, however. An electric winch is sufficient for occasional and emergency use and is more affordable.
How much can I expect to spend?
The best winch systems cost upwards of $1500. More costly doesn't always more effective, however. You can pull together a winch system you can rely on for as little as $500-it all comes down, again, to playing things smart and taking the time to figuring out what you want from it exactly.
Caring for Your Winch
Proper care for your winch is really easy. It is fairly durable in construction and just requires constant and consistent maintenance. Just remember to T.I.C. the following items of your list and you are sure to have your winch running efficiently and effectively for a very long time. We've arranged them from what you can do least often all the way up to what should be done regularly.
Whether or not you actively use your winch, it's advisable to run it through its entire operation at least once a year. Just activate your winch and order the rolled-out cable on the floor in front of your truck. Once you reach the end of the line, retract it, making sure that it threads orderly back into the housing.
Apart from allowing your motor to stay functional, this helps you to work out any tangles that may have formed which could make it difficult to use later on.
Make sure to look over the winch cable before and after using it. Although these cables are made to last, constant use and even exposure to the elements can wear them out or even weaken them. Look out for any visible kinking or fraying-these are signs of the need for immediate replacement.
The best way to conduct a thorough inspection is to run your hand through it while it is already attached-you might chance upon brittleness that your eyes might miss.
Accumulation of dirt is damaging to any equipment. On a winch, it is a little worse because of the fact that the dirt can get stuck between the wound up folds of the wire. Here, under pressure, they can have an abrasive effect on the wire-possible damaging them.
Wipe through the length of the cable as often as you can with any clean rag. If you can, try to unwind the winch completely, leaving a minimum of 5 wraps on the drum, to get to clean the entire length. Applying light oil helps to keep rust and corrosion from forming.