Pickup truck winches aren't always used for pulling -- a winch can lift heavy items in and out of a truck's bed. If you go off-roading, use your truck on a farm or just like to be prepared to hook onto something and give it a pull, you might want to equip your pickup truck with a winch, but deciding which type of winch will work best for you needs takes a little thought.
Winch Pull Ratings
- Trying to move a heavy vehicle with four flat tires through deep mud will likely bring you to the 15,000 pound mark.
- Moving the same vehicle, but with inflated tires and away from a spot where it can roll, would probably only require 3,000-4,000 pounds of pull strength (or less).
- Moving a vehicle that runs and is able to try to move itself requires very little pulling power from the winch.
Consider the ways you plan to use the winch before you decide which pull rating will best suit your needs.
Winch Cable Variations
Keep in mind that, while a winch's rope or cable is very important, it is only as good as the hook on one end and attachment to the drum on the other.
Winch Mounting Variations
Winch Accessories & Helpers
- The winch's remote control, if it has one.
- Gloves (I prefer sturdy leather, which is more protective) and straps that you can wrap around a tree or a vehicle's axle.
- A couple of hefty D-rings so that you can quickly and securely attach the winch cable to the object you're pulling.
- A few old blankets or heavy moving pads (look for cheap versions at a local thrift store). Lay on one when you need to reach up under the vehicle, and drape another over the winch's cable or rope before you pull (see safety tips below).
- A pulley that's made to use with a winch (other types will break). When it isn't possible to move something on a straight path, a pulley lets you pull "around a corner," or from a side angle.
Winch Safety Tips
- Always make sure the winch's hook is securely fastened to the object you intend to pull.
- Know exactly where the vehicle or other object will go when it starts to move.
- If the winch has a remote control, use it, and put yourself in a safe position away from a possible snap of the cable or path of a vehicle.
- Never step over a tensioned winch cable or rope.
- Drape a blanket over a winch's cable or rope when it's extended more than 10 feet. A cable that comes loose or breaks can turn into a whip, injuring anyone who's nearby or damaging vehicles. The blanket will help slow down the cable. Don't underestimate this danger.
- Inspect the cable or rope for damage, and replace it if necessary.
- Always rewind the cable or rope correctly, into tight and even rows. A loose cable can jerk and slips into the gaps as it is pulling.
- Read your owner's manual to make sure you know exactly how the winch should be operated.