What Size Winch to Buy for Your Truck & How to Use It

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Your truck can get into some challenging situations. If you’re navigating a jobsite or exploring an unmarked dirt trail, you need a winch. This handy tool is a great way to get you out of the ditch, mud pit or other off-road situation. Learn how to size your winch before ordering one online. Browse winches and off road Jeep parts today to save money and avoid a trip to your local auto parts store.

Truck on the road through countryside, aerial view

How To Find the Right Winch Capacity

Winches can include a wide range of options to improve your off-road safety. The most important feature is the weight capacity. Winches are rated based on the weight limit they can pull, typically from 9,000 pounds up to as much as 18,000 pounds.

Choose truck and Jeep winches that have a weight rating at least twice the weight of your vehicle. For most midsize trucks, a 9,000-pound winch offers plenty of pulling capacity. Full-size trucks will need a more heavy-duty option, like a 12,00 or 16,000 winch.

One great feature of winches is that you can always use a larger winch. Not sure what your truck weighs? Pick up a heavy-duty winch. It will give you the confidence to pull your truck, whether it’s fully loaded or not.

Other features to consider include hydraulic or electric and synthetic or steel cables. There are pros and cons to both options, so it depends on your truck and driving situation. Electric winches are typically faster, but have less output and can potentially drain your battery. Hydraulic winches offer more reliable power, but only work if your truck is still running.

The hooks of the mobile crane near the glass of high buildings.Lots of hooks hanging from chains suspended from a crane

How To Use a Winch

A winch gets you out of the ditch or helps you pull a buddy out of a tough situation. These accessories can vary, so don’t try to use yours without consulting your owner’s manual. For most winches, these are the basic steps:

  • Disengage the winch drum
  • Using gloves, pull the cable out
  • Connect the cable to a safe point or other vehicle
  • Leave at least five wraps of cable in the winch drum
  • Drive and operate the winch at the same time

Recovering yourself or another driver is a task that requires plenty of focus and caution. A winch motor has a lot of power, so try to avoid having an audience close to your truck as you operate the winch. Never handle a winch cable with your bare hands, because small imperfections or loose strands can be very sharp.

Once you find a safe place to connect your winch, you’ll want to be in the driver’s seat. Ideally, your truck and winch will be moving at approximately the same speed to help each other. With the right setup and the right winch, you should be able to pull your truck or haul another driver out of a difficult situation and back onto the trail.

Truck Mechanic Perform Scheduled Maintenance

Where To Go for All Your Off-Road Accessories

With all the winch options available, it can be tough to find the best option for your truck. Shop online to get all the insider information on winch specifications, customer reviews and promotional deals. Shop today to pick up a winch, fender flares Jeep and other accessories to keep your ride moving forward.

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