off-road vehicle

If you’re going to install a winch to the front of your off-road vehicle, you must attach it to a specialty bumper.

Photo courtesy of TACrafts/istockphoto

Installing Winches

Once you've found the right winch for you, you need to install it. It's very important that you do this right -- otherwise, not only will your winch not work, you could seriously damage you car. Most winches will not work with a stock bumper. The loads the winch will be pulling need to be evenly distributed across the bumper, and most stock bumpers simply aren't made for that. Most stock bumpers also don't have the space for a winch. Check out the parts catalogue you've ordered your winch from to find a bumper that will work with your vehicle -- most will also come with front hitches as well as other towing accessories.

Once the winch and the bumper are mounted, the winch will need a power source. That usually means connecting it to the car's battery and installing a power switch. Some people will even install an extra battery just for the winch if they have a particularly powerful model.

The final step in installing a winch is pretensioning the wire. That means making sure the wire is tightly spooled on the winch's drum. Some winches come with the cable already wrapped around the winch drum, and others don't. If the wire is already on the drum, you should unspool most of it. Attach the cable to a heavy object, make sure your vehicle is in park with the emergency brake set and the wheels stabilized, and start the winch. The cable or wire will start to spool up, but whatever object you're towing will make sure it wraps around the winch drum correctly. If your winch came without the cable on the drum already, you simply need to attach the cable to the drum and follow the same steps. You should do this process a couple of times to make sure you've gotten the cable adequately stretched out.


For more information on winches, towing and all things auto, drive your rig over to the links on the next page.