Winch Buyer's Guide
- A winch is a mechanical device used for hauling or lifting heavy objects.
- Winches intended for use with vehicles usually get their power from an electric motor. These vehicle winches either attach to the back of towing vehicles or the front of ATVs.
- Winches mounted on the front portion of your vehicle can serve to tow your vehicle out of the mud in case your ride gets stuck.
- Electric winch components include a cable, a drum, an electric motor, a gear train, and a hook.
- If your winch motor is frequently overheating or if you notice it running slower than usual, it may be time to have it replaced with a new one.
- A typical winch will cost you around $50 to $1000 depending on the brand you choose.
Off-road adventures are a fun and exciting experience. However, it is sometimes unavoidable for vehicles to get stuck when driving through a muddy trail. Thankfully, there is a mechanical device we can use to help pull a stuck vehicle out of the mud.
In this article, you will learn more about what an electric winch is, how to use it, and the different factors you should consider when buying one.
What Is a Winch?
It generally refers to a mechanical device used for hauling or lifting. This simple mechanical device saw wide use many years now, not only in the automotive industry but in other industrial and mechanical applications.
There are many types of winches depending on where they get used. Some even come equipped with gear assemblies and draw power from internal combustion drives. Winches used for vehicles usually run on an electric motor.
Components of an Electric Winch
A vehicle winch usually attaches to either the rear of towing vehicles or the front of ATVs. To understand how an electric winch works, we need to look at each individual component:
Winch cables originally made use of rope. Today, many modern winch cables employ steel instead of winch rope, making it stronger and durable than the older ones. Take note that winch cables may vary in length. A typical one may range from 40 to 100 feet.
A winch drum looks like a cylinder and takes up a horizontal position to let the winch cables wrap around it. Inside the cylinder lies a spool that allows the cables to wrap neatly around its body.
A winch usually runs on power from an electric motor connected to a vehicle’s battery. Although some old-technology winches still rely on manual power, most of the winch used for vehicles nowadays rely on electric power to rotate the drum.
A gear train refers to a system of gears responsible for your winch’s pulling power.
As the name suggests, the winch hook attaches to the vehicle you want to tow or pull.
Uses for Vehicle-Mounted Winches
Winches mounted on the front portion of your vehicle serve as self-rescue devices. When your vehicle gets stuck in the mud, you can attach the winch to a sturdy object that will serve as your anchoring point and tow your vehicle out of the mud.
Different types of winches may have different operating instructions. You need not worry because there are many instructional videos online on how to use a winch. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with these steps because you’ll never know when you’ll need it.
What Are the Symptoms of a Faulty Winch?
Just like any other device or machine, winches may also fail or get damaged. Here are some common symptoms related to a faulty winch:
- Your winch runs slower than usual, or there is a noticeable loss of motor power.
- Your winch only runs in one direction. This problem may stem from a faulty motor solenoid or winch remote control.
- The motor gets extremely warm when using your winch. While it is natural for the motor to grow hotter because of frequent use, too much heat could lead to overheating. Once the motor becomes hot, give it time to cool down. If it is still too warm after resting for a significant amount of time, chances are something is wrong with the electric motor.
- Your winch drum does not turn at all.
Once you confirm that your winch is faulty, it is important to have it replaced with a new one right away especially if you're frequently on for an off-road adventure. Even if you’re not an off-roader, an electric winch might be of use to you one day. You don’t have to worry about finding a quality winch because there are many stores that offer high-quality winches at an equally reasonable price, just like the ones found in our online store.
What to Consider Before Getting a Winch
Before getting a winch, you must first consider the material it is made of, as well as its weight or pull rating.
A winch may come with either a steel or synthetic rope. As mentioned, steel ropes are stronger and durable, but they are quite heavy to move around. If you don’t like this idea, you may opt for a synthetic rope instead. Take note, however, that synthetic ropes can be difficult to maintain.
Weight or Pull Rating
Your winch is used to tow large and heavy vehicles. It is important to buy one that can pull heavy objects such as your vehicle. Ideally, your vehicle winch should be able to tow 1.5 times of your vehicle’s total weight or even more. When choosing one, make sure that the pull rating is compatible with your vehicle. For example, a truck winch has a different pull rating than the ones used for cars.
There are many brands to choose from when shopping for a winch. But more than the brand you choose, it is important to make sure that your winch uses durable components. Order your winch from legitimate sources like our shop.
How Much Does a Typical Winch Cost?
An electric winch usually costs around $50 to $1000, depending on the brand you choose. They can be sold individually or as a part of a kit. When buying one, check the product specification (pull rating) to make sure you are getting the right winch for your vehicle.
Finding the Right Fit
To make your search easier, enter the exact details of your vehicle into our built-in search console. You may also filter your search depending on the brand and the price range you want. Browse through our wide selection of car winch and choose the one that best fits your vehicle.