Useful Tips for Choosing the Right Winch for Your Car

If you have a passion for adventure and go off-road often, you must be familiar with encountering obstacles backcountry. When you try to overcome the large rocks, heavy mud, or sand, a winch can be a big help to your off-road driving skills. Your truck or SUV while off-road is just as capable as it’s on-road with a winch attached to its bumper. It can pull you up with its mighty power only if you choose the right winch that is well capable of pulling the job. If you’ve been thinking about what size of a winch would be right for your car, here is a comprehensive guide to choosing one. Please make sure you get the points right and consider them with most care to know the right size of the winch for your car.

Decide the winch-type first

While buying a winch for your truck, you have a choice to make between two different types. Either you can choose an ELECTRIC WINCH, or you can go for a HYDRAULIC WINCH.

1. Electric Winch

The most chosen winch-type is the Electric winch; they use the battery power from your vehicle. The winding speed of the electric winch is faster than hydraulic winches, and the job becomes easier with less headache with such a winch. The electric winches are also way easier to install into the car compared to a hydraulic winch. The most useful side of electric winches is that you can use a remote controller to control the winch.

Using a remote controller enables you to keep safe while winching, as we know that winching can be dangerous sometimes. Superwinch Terra is one of the most prominent electric winches that can be a great choice because of its versatility and variety of weight range. Hence, you have to have a powerful battery to power up a heavy winch, so make sure you have a massive battery as well. You can have a look at the winch specification amperage rating to decide what battery you require.

2. Hydraulic Winch

Hydraulic winches use the power steering pump of the vehicle to wind up the winch’s line and pull you out. This type of winch is heavy and harder to operate, yet winch enthusiasts love them because of its reliability. While the electric winches are prone to water, mud, or low power, the hydraulic once is on work. As long as the engine of your vehicle runs, the hydraulic winch can pull you out of mud or any heavy obstacles. But the drawback is, not every truck comes with a mounting option for hydraulic winches.

Decide the cable type

After deciding what type of winch, you are going for, you need to decide what type of cable you are pairing it with. There are two different choices here too; either you go with the traditional STEEL CABLE, or you can go with SYNTHETIC ROPE, both cables have their pros and cons.

1. Steel Cable

Steel cables are prone to stain over time, and they are too heavy. If you hit a wet off-road, you will get the steel cable closer to staining. We don’t use our winch too often, so the mud or water keeps creating stain inside, and the cable becomes weak. Also, using steel cables is very dangerous as well; while winding up, if the cable breaks down, it can be deadly as hell.

2. Synthetic Ropes

The Synthetic ropes, on the other hand, also have their shortcomings, especially while winding on a rock. When the rope rubs with an unsmooth rock, there is a possibility of ending up with a torn cable. Although the lines come with an extra protective layer and it can save the rope in such a situation, still a too-large rock can touch up the rope. They are also absorbed water and freeze in the winter, so they become more fragile.


The good thing about ropes is, although they are pricier, they are very light in weight and easy to operate. Regardless of what cable you go with, you must take excellent care of it if you want it to last long.

Consider the GVWR

The Gross Vehicle Mass is also known as Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), is critical while choosing a perfect winch for your vehicle. What it means is the maximum operating weight capacity of the car, including all the gears, mods, passenger and driver. It’s important to know because while you are choosing your winch, you need to get the capability right to match it up. The pulling capability of the winch should be at least 1.5 times higher than the object it’s pulling in real. If you end up getting a weaker winch, it may disappoint you when you are in deep trouble out there in the middle of nowhere.

Now for the power of the winch itself

When you decide the power of your winch, it depends on the layers of the line on the spool. What it means is, when you are wrapping the cable on the spool drum of the winch, the power keeps decreasing. With each layer of the cable you wrap on the drum, you lose 10% of the capacity of the whole winch. The winch is most powerful while it’s on a single wrap with the steel cable or synthetic rope on the spool.


If a winch can pull 10,000 lbs. with a layer on the spool, it will pull 88,800 lbs. if you put on another layer on it. While you lose one layer, you gain 10% more power back to your winching, so make sure you choose way more powerful a winch as compared to your truck mass.

Bottom line

Choosing and pairing a winch with your favorite truck can be a pretty tough job if you don’t follow the procedure, as mentioned above, Especially the mass calculation. If you have done the mass calculation of your car itself, you can choose 1.5- or 2-times heavier winch to pair it. The winching capability of the winch you are getting will be listed by layer on the specification page of the winch, make sure you go through the specification.

If you are planning to buy a winch, you can check winchhub to pick a good one!


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