The Basics You Should Know When Choosing a Winch for Your Vehicle

A winch can be your good friend when you encounter a critical situation while on the road. If you are an overlander (and not only), a winch is a tool that should not miss from the arsenal, especially if you are off-road and end up in a bad scenario.

Choosing a good winch is not that simple, though. There are a lot of things to take into consideration before spending your money on a tool like this. Luckily, we have all the facts you should consider when picking your new 4×4 winch, so let’s get started.

What Are Some Important Winch Features?

  • Electrical System

One of the most important aspects of a winch is the electrical system. That’s because different systems allow you to pull different things. The weaker it is, the less power the winch will be able to use, which is going to ruin the operation when you’re dealing with something bigger and heavier.

You should look for a winch that has a big enough reserve capacity and cold cranking ability. This will help the motor work more efficiently and get the job done.


  • Drum


Even though it may not seem like such an important thing to some, a winch drum is certainly one of the key components of the winch. This is the part of the item where the cable is wrapped.

Keep in mind that if the working diameter of the drum is larger, then the winch will have less pulling ability, which is caused by the height of the gear. To rate the pulling power of the winch, you have to look at the bottom layer of the cable, which is wrapped around the drum. This is because the top layer is where the short pulling happens initially. The second layer of the cable is located above the bottom and will slash the pulling power rating by around 20%. Lastly, the remaining layers make the pulling power less amazing, decreasing it by 10% for each wrap.


  • Remote Control


For the most part, winches have a remote control that allows you to control them. These remotes make them easier to use compared to using a hand crank. What’s even better is that it is possible to purchase a winch that doesn’t have a remote, and then buy a universal remote separately. The same can be done if you lose your existing remote.


  • Type


Winches can be of different types: hydraulic and electric. Hydraulic ones are very strong because they do not overheat, and they usually have pretty strong electrical systems. This is the winch you should go for if you want to use the unit more frequently. At the same time, they are less common than their electric counterparts.

Electric winches work with an electric motor, and they are the most common ones. They generally have a permanent magnet motor that is not only good and efficient but also lightweight. The only issue would be that these motors can overheat much easier.


  • Rope vs. Cable


You may be wondering whether a cable is a better choice, or whether the rope is the one to go for.

Well, the cable is great for those who want something durable and strong, but also cheaper. The issue with it is that it can be quite heavy and not that easy to handle.

On the other hand, synthetic ropes are lighter and much easier to handle, and the cool thing is that they are also stronger and will not rust over time. The downside is that they don’t dissipate heat, which may affect the brake on your winch.

Things to Consider

  • Size of the Winch

One of the most important considerations when picking a new winch is the size. If you want the best 4×4 winch to bring with you, you need to find out the Gross Vehicle Weight, as well as the weight of the modifications and accessories to add to the GVW rating. To find out how much you need, add like 30% of the working GVW and you have the winch size you require.


  • How You’re Going to Use It


Are you planning to use the winch frequently, or just as a safety measure in case you get stuck? Whichever it is, you need to pick a winch according to this aspect. A large winch will be better if you need a tool to push harder when you find yourself in a difficult situation.


  • Suspension


You need to have enough suspension for support if you are getting a very heavy winch. The weight on the front end of the vehicle is an important consideration if you want to get a proper winch. For instance, if you have a synthetic rope winch, you will have to increase the front-end weight between 55 and 65 lbs.

Meanwhile, if you add a steel cable, you will have to add 20-35 lbs.

Final Thoughts

Picking the right winch for your vehicle is crucial if you want to be safe on the road and get out of a troublesome situation. Hopefully, this guide helped you in this regard.