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Choosing the Right Winch for Your Car

CarPart  ·  December 23, 2022

Choosing the Right Winch for Your Car

A car winch certainly makes a car or truck look a lot tougher, but truth is, it’s not just for show. A winch is a practical tool to have and will get your vehicle out of a sticky situation—literally! 

You can only enjoy the benefits of a car winch if you choose the most suitable one. Make sure that it can pull 1.5 times the total weight of your car, and consider the type of rope or cable used, how it's mounted, and the winch motor (if not hand-cranked).

Read through this guide to discover how a winch works and what you should consider when buying one. 

What’s a Winch, and How Does It Work?

A winch is a significant investment for any vehicle, regardless of what you use it for. So, you must understand what it is and how it works before spending your hard-earned money on one.

A winch is a rotating spool of rope typically mounted on the front of a motor vehicle, whether a truck, car, or other types. The spool can rotate in both directions to either tighten or loosen a rope, making it incredibly useful for many situations.

For example, you can find a hydraulic winch on a 4x4 that’s there to free the vehicle and others that get stuck in a ditch. You might see a police car driving past you on the highway with an electric winch often used to move heavy objects out of the way.

The straightforward practicality of a winch can be lifesaving in various situations. That’s why it’s worth considering as an investment whether you drive a truck, van, or even a passenger vehicle in some cases.

How Do I Know What Size Winch I Need?

Having a winch on your car is all well and good, but only if you have one that's the correct size. As you can imagine, having one that's too small will only be of use if it can pull your car or any other out of a tough spot.

There are many ways to refer to the winch size. So, what we're talking about here is the winch size, winch capacity, or winch power. These interchangeable terms point towards how much power your winch has.

There are a few general rules for choosing the correct winch size for your car, which are:

  1. Overall, the heavier your vehicle is, the bigger winch you’ll need.
  2. In terms of ability, the winch and its motor must pull 1.5 times the vehicle weight, including the passengers and cargo you'll have on board.

Naturally, you’ll want a winch that has some excess power above what you need it to do. That will ensure that the winch doesn’t break down if you put a little extra demand on it when you’re out on the road or in the woods.

Of course, things are slightly different with a manual winch. If you decide to buy one of those, its capacity will largely depend on how strong you are to crank it. 

Still, you’ll want to ensure the rope or cable is strong enough to handle the weight you expect it to pull.

What Else Should You Consider When Choosing a Car Winch?

The winch size for a truck or car is the most critical factor when buying one, plus a few other things you should consider to ensure that the winch will meet your needs.

Here are some of the other factors to keep in mind:

As you can see, there are plenty of considerations when buying the right winch for your car. It's best to filter your search by considering the winch size first, and then narrow your options by looking at its other characteristics.

Why It’s Critical to Choose the Correct Winch for Your Car

It’s plain to see that not all winches are the same, so never understate the importance of choosing the correct winch for your car. 

Here’s why you must do your homework and choose the winch that is best suited for your car or truck:

You can find new and used 4x4 winches for sale through CarpartAU. Browse the Marketplace for deals on used parts or submit a request through the Part Finder if you know precisely the kind of winch you want.


By Ray Hasbollah

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