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Your Essential Guide to Truck Winches

Your Essential Guide to Truck Winches
November 2, 2018 TheHoth

Winches are ancient inventions. Aristotle referred to winch and pulley hoists as common in agriculture by the 4th century BC.

Today, winches remain a necessary piece of equipment for outdoor vehicles. Read on to learn all about truck winches and choosing the best truck winch for your needs.

What is a Winch?

A truck winch is a machine for hoisting or hauling. A winch has a cable, a drum or cylinder and a set of gears.

To use a winch, you attach a cable to the item you want to haul. A motor turns the gears and drum to wind the cable and pull the item.

There are various types of winches based on their pulling capacity. This measurement is measured in pounds of weight you can pull with that particular winch.

Self- Recovery Winch

You can mount a self-recovery winch on the front or back of a truck to pull objects. You would use this winch to pull a car out of a ditch, for example.

Self-recovery winches need to be used in conjunction with a mounting kit. This kit will attach to your truck permanently.

Or, you can use a multi-mount system. This system can come on and off your vehicle and used on other vehicles as well.

Self-recovery winches often have a free-spool option that allows you to pull the cable out quickly. If your winch is electric, there’s a remote control so that you can use the winch without putting yourself in danger.

Crane Winch

If you plan to lift heavy objects off the ground, you will need a crane winch. Many winches are not recommended for hoisting objects off the ground, so ensure you have a crane winch for these jobs.

One of the best things about crane winches is that there is a brake that allows you to hold the load in place, safely. There is also a power out to lower the item down.

Check out these 5 safety tips for working with crane truck bodies.

Now let’s look at the considerations when buying a winch for your truck.

Choose Electric or Hydraulic Winch

A winch has 1 of 2 power sources. Electric winches use your truck’s battery power to run the motor, this is the more common type of winch.

They allow you to use a remote control so that you are well away from the winch and another object during recovery. These are usually easier to install and have a fast winding speed.

Keep in mind that electric winches use a lot of power. Make sure your truck’s battery and alternator can handle the job with the headlights on.

Hydraulic winches use your truck’s power steering pump to wind up the winch line. These types of winches are reliable and are unaffected by your truck’s battery power.

So long as the engine is running, a hydraulic winch can do the job. To install, you’ll need to run hydraulic lines and add some plumbing. So there’s a chance a particular hydraulic winch won’t work for your truck.

Choose Between Steel Cable or Synthetic

Steel is the most common material for winch cables. It is strong, resists abrasion and lasts the test of time.

Yet, steel cables can fray and even snap. If that happens, it could cause serious harm to anyone in the way because of the stored energy it holds.

Synthetic winch lines are lighter and hold less potential energy. So there’s less risk of injury if they break.

Synthetic cables are stronger than steel and lighter. Yet, these are not as resistant to abrasion as steel cables. If it rubs against a rock, eventually it will snap.

Bottom Line on Truck Winches

We hope this guide has helped you understand the different kinds of truck winches so that you can make an informed decision.

Remember, there is no such thing as the best winch. The right choice depends on your particular needs.

Now, check out these 5 simple truck repairs you need to know about.