How to Install a Winch – Informational Guide [2021]

| Last Updated: December 23, 2020

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It is always wise to carry out some high-quality alterations to your vehicle to increase its efficiency. By installing a winch, a lifting device consisting of rope wrapped around a rotating drum, you can easily find your way out of multiple off-road sticky situations.

Whether it is to pull some trees, lift and move heavy objects from one point to another, or get your companion’s ride out of mud puddles, a Jeep or a truck with a winch can get the job done.

Here we will be discussing tips, tricks, and ways to install a winch.

Winch Installation Tips, Tricks, and Hacks For Success

If you are planning an off-road trip with your friends, have a look at these tips, tricks, and hacks before hitting the road. These points will make the winch installation process a lot easier for you.


The winch's size and strength depend on the dimension of your vehicle and how you intend to use it. Invest in a model that is compatible with your vehicle. Keep this in mind when exploring the market.


The most common winch has a four-bolt maintenance pattern. It is built from a smooth and flat iron plate, which is usually ¼-inch in size.


Experts recommend to carefully go through the manual or instruction literature that comes with the winch. Pay attention to all the safety hazards mentioned in the manual. Injuries can happen in case of misuse or incorrect installation. If you are using a winch with a steel cable, then wearing gloves is a must. Steel cables have splinters. If they are used carelessly, they will damage your hands.


Make sure your potential winch comes with the pulling capacity of 1½ times the weight that this winch is supposed to pull. Experts usually consider this as a rule of thumb.

How to Install a Winch

Installing a winch is like a walk in the park; all you have to do is follow the simple steps mentioned below. The entire installation process is divided into two parts: wiring and fitting the winch to the vehicle.

  1. Take out the three color-coded wires and two earth cables from the solenoid box.

  2. Hold those three color-coded wires in your hand and put those down through the bullbar so that after mounting, attaching those cables to the winch is as easy as tightening a couple of bolts.

  3. Attach the positive and negative cables coming out of your solenoid box to the positive and negative of your car battery.

  4. Feed those three cables through the hole in the bullbar downwards.

  5. Look out for four main bolts in your winch as they hold the unit in place and provide support.

  6. Usually, the steel plate at the front of vehicles has holes to mount the winch, but in some cars, the right place to mount a winch is at the bottom – it varies from vehicle to vehicle.

  7. Lift the winch and mount it to the right place.

  8. Attach and tight all four of the bolts.

  9. Attach the wires.

  10. Lastly, automatically roll the cable in.

Reading these steps might leave you confused. So, here’s a visual guide of what was just described. 

How to Install a Winch on an ATV

If you own an ATV and are looking to increase its efficiency by installing a winch in it, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Fasten the winch mount in case your ATV doesn’t have it installed in the first place.

  2. Attach the winch to the mounting plate.

  3. Next, attach the rollers and your actual winch cable and tighten it carefully.

  4. Now, assemble and fasten the handlebar remote switch.

  5. A couple of wires from the switch will go into the solenoid. One will be hooked into the ignition system.

  6. Get a hold of the voltmeter and find out which wire is hot all the time and which one gets hot when the circuit is completed.

  7. Then attach the wire.

  8. Attach the solenoid at a secure place, preferably at the back of the battery.

  9. Depending on the colors, attach the cables with the solenoid box.

  10. The next step is to attach the cables to the winch.

  11. Hook the power cable to your battery and the solenoid.

  12. The power cable comes with a circuit breaker, make sure it says BAT as it will indicate which side of the circuit breaker needs to be attached to the battery.

  13. Take the ground wire and attach it from the solenoid to the battery as well.

  14. Once you have completed these steps, test your ATV out.

That’s all there is to it! If these steps were unclear, here is a video explaining these steps. 


Treat your truck or Jeep with a winch so that it can be your best companion on-road and off-road. With an alternated and well-equipped truck, you can get out of any tricky situation. Install it by following each instruction carefully. You can even control it with the help of remote control. You can easily score some points in front of your friends by helping them in the hour of need.

People Also Ask

People who are installing winch for the first time must have a couple of questions about it. To make the installation process a bit easy for you, we have jotted down some frequently asked questions. Go through their answers, and they will help you in making the right pick and carefully install the winch.

How Do You Mount a Winch to a Bullbar?

When it comes to mounting your winch to a bullbar, you will see that there are four main bolts in the winch and four in your bullbar. Attach the winch to the bullbar with the help of four main bolts. Tightly secure the bolts so that they are in place.

Can You Put a Winch on a Car?

Yes, you can put a winch on a car. Most people with Jeeps and trucks have winches in front of their vehicles, but you can install it in front of your car. Most of the winches are compact, convenient, reliable, and very easy to install.

Can You Put a Winch on a Nudge Bar?

Yes, the driver can put a winch on a nudge bar. A nudge bar is essential as it provides extra protection to the radiator grille and parts in its surrounding. If you don’t have the option of attaching the winch to a bullbar, you can carry out the entire process on a nudge bar.

How Much Does a Winch Cost to Install?

If you are surfing the internet to purchase a winch for your vehicle, such as an ATV, then you will find a stellar winch kit for around $100 to $200. If you are more of a do-it-yourself person, then you can save approximately $100 from service centers.

How Long Does it Take to Install a Winch?

If you have the right-sized mounting plate on your vehicle already and have an instruction manual right beside you, it will take you around two hours to install a winch. You can also save your time and effort by taking your car to the dealer and have them install it for you.

How Big of a Winch Do I Need to Pull a Car on a Trailer?

For car haulers and tilt trailers, experts recommend 9500lbs winches. On the other hand, for pintle, heavy tilt, and gooseneck trailers, 12000 lb or 17500lbs winches are more suitable. You have to pick the winch depending on the model and dimension of your vehicle. Ensure that your winch's pulling capacity is more than 50% of the gross vehicle weight.

How Do You Hook up a Winch to a Battery?

Hooking up a winch to a battery is very easy. The positive lead will go with the positive post of the potential vehicle’s battery, and the negative will be attached to the negative ground post. Figure out the positive and negative ends, and the rest is a piece of cake.

I used to work in construction and landscaping, so I've seen my fair share of ratchet straps, winches, and similar rigging gear. I started Winch Central because I've seen some nasty accidents due to crappy rigging or poor practice. I wanted to be able to recommend good equipment that's SAFE and also provide resources for how its used. I handle the research side of things here as well as product selection for gear reviews.