What Size Winch Do I Need for My Vehicle?

The winch is something that you must need if you love to go off-roading on a regular basis. Just imagine your car or jeep has been stuck on a muddy road and not moving an inch. What will you do in that situation?

For such problems, self-recovery tools are a must and a winch is one of them that will get rid of the condition. That’s why you should contemplate keeping a winch in your car.


Jeep Winch


However, it is a bit difficult to purchase the right winch as there are a lot more things to consider and the most important is its size. A wrong size winch will not be much effective to pull your stuck vehicles out from a hostile place.

What size winch actually do you need for your vehicles then?  It basically depends on the weight of vehicles, front-end, and type of travel.

In this article, we have shown which size winch you need, and what things you should consider while purchasing a winch. So, let’s get started.

What Size Winch Do I Need for My Vehicle?

It is a bit challenging to say the definite size of winch for your vehicles as which size you will need depends on a couple of things including the vehicles’ weight, the heaviness of the front-end, how frequently you travel, etc. But, it would be best if you got a winch that can put a minimum of 1.5 times your vehicle’s weight.

You can determine the size by taking the entire weight of your vehicle and multiplying it by 1.5. Keep in mind that this is the least possible rating and it can be exceeded in some cases. The best formula to get the right size of winch for your car, truck, or jeep is (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating X 1.5). Remember that the GVWR includes the base weight & passengers/cargo.

For instance, if 1.8 metric tons is your vehicle weighs, you have to choose a winch with a minimum 2.7 metric tons capacity. The 1.5x rule is an established industry, but to be one step ahead of safety, you have to purchase one that has a holding capacity of more than that.

There are some winches for money you can purchase that come with great capacity and will be up to pulling most of the large and weight objects with ease.

Things You Should Consider To Have The Right Size Winch

To purchase the right size winch, there are a couple of things you must take into your consideration.

1.  The Weight of Vehicle

The weight of the vehicle is the first thing you must contemplate before purchasing a winch. Suppose, you have bought a winch, but the load capacity is not more than the vehicle’s weight, the winch will break for sure. That’s why the initial task of you before going to purchase a winch is calculating the entire weight of your vehicle including base weight and passengers or cargo. The total weight will be multiplied by 1.5. For example, if your car is 4000lbs [1.8] metric tons, you should go for a winch that has at least 600lbs [2.7] load capacity.

2.  How Frequently You Travel

This is another important factor; if you travel regularly,  a winch must be carried to you for safety purposes. In that case, a winch with 1.5 times the weight of your vehicle should be purchased that will help you to put out the stuck car easily. On the contrary, if you are an occasional traveler, you have to look for the line speed of the winch. Always go for a comparatively larger winch that has a sizable motor and accelerated line speed. This type of winch doesn’t require much effort to get your vehicle out of a tricky situation.

3.  The Weight of The Front-End

Before you buy a winch, you have to know your vehicle’s front-end weight. Make sure that there are springs in the front end; otherwise, a heavy winch will damage your vehicle. It is better to go for a synthetic rope winch that weighs around 25 to 30 kg and you won’t leave an impact. Stay away from having a steel one that adds extra weight and impacts the front-end longevity.

Types of Winch

Different types of winch are available on the market such as electric winch, hybrid winch, mechanical winch (portable), and hydraulic winch.

Electric Winches can be operated with both their own battery and the vehicle’s battery too. Another battery is adjusted to bring the load from the battery of the vehicle and confer it to the winch.

Hybrid Winches are built from extras. If you own an old winch, you can attach it to your car and you can give it to the winch with the help of a hydraulic pump. These winches are comparatively cheap but strong enough.

Mechanical Winches [Portable] are handmade attached to a motor that ensures motive force. They basically provide independence pressure to motor vehicles.

Hydraulic Winches adjoin the cars’ engine through a hydraulic pump. The pump helps generate power which forces the winch to form the pull. They are mostly similar to mechanical winches in the way of engine working.

What To Inspect Before Purchasing a Winch

This is the segment where we have demonstrated what things you have to take into your consideration along with the right size. Otherwise, you will end up buying an awful one.

  • First and foremost, you have to check the build quality of the winch that you are going to buy. Winches made of low-quality materials won’t last long.
  • Sealing is another important thing that will enable you to use a winch even in a harsh environment.
  • The motor is the powerhouse of electric winches. The load capacity of a winch depends on its motor; thus you have to consider it too.
  • A cable is another crucial component of a winch that must be made of quality steel to have longevity.
  • Make sure that the winch you will buy holds a planetary gear system that makes the pulling motion smooth.
  • Go for a winch with high line speed.
  • The hook should be considered too and ensure that it is durable enough.

Final Thought

Hopefully, you have now perceived what size winch you’ll need for your vehicle. What size you will take depends on many things that we have already mentioned above. But, in general, you have to go for a winch that is at least 1.5 times the weight of your car. In short, find out the overall weight of your vehicle including the base weight and passengers/cargo, then multiply it by 1.5. After that, based on the result choose a winch. Lastly, keep in mind that a winch with a higher capacity is always better.


Image by Christian LeBlanc from Pixabay

Author: Tim Miller
I’m Tim Miller, a mechanic and car blogger from Denver, Colorado. I’m the editor-in-chief of gmundcars.com - a blog about Automotive. My fan page is https://www.facebook.com/timautozik. I’ve had 10 years experience in car repair. Some of my review articles about car parts and tools can be found on my website.

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