In our definitive guide, we explain how these devices work, what they are typically used for, and how to use one safely. We’ve also briefly explored the purchase options you are likely to have if you decide to purchase one of these versatile devices.
How winches work: what is a winch
Smoked beings have been using winches to tackle heavy lifting jobs for literally millennia. The ancient Greeks used them to build their bridges, lift heavy objects, and perform large construction tasks. Although most of today’s winches now rely on a motor rather than the force of the human elbow for their operation, the basic technology has changed very little.
A winch consists of the following components:
- A cable – Originally made from rope, most winch cables are now made from steel, which offers the excellent tensile strength needed to maneuver heavy objects. These cables, which tend to vary in length from 40 to 100 feet, connect the object to be hoisted to the next component; the drum.
- A drum – The drum is a horizontally positioned cylinder, around which the winch cable is wound. Inside, a spool allows it to rotate, so the cable is carefully inserted and wound around its exterior.
- A motor – Generally, an electric motor connected to the vehicle’s battery provides the necessary power to rotate the drum. Some winches rely on manual power for this rotation, but most of the devices you will see today are powered by a motor.
- A gear train – A gear system that converts the power emitted by the motor into tractive power.
- A hook – A basic but effective part of the winch system is the hook. This is the means by which the cable connects to any object that requires pulling.
These components come together to drag whatever is attached to the end of the cable onto the drum. Since winches are often attached to the rear of tow vehicles or the front of ATVs, this usually means heavy items are being dragged onto the vehicle itself.
How to use a winch safely: what are winches for
Clearly winches have a wide variety of uses, and they can be a real life saver! However, as with any tool, it is vital that winches are used correctly to avoid injury or damage, and to ensure that whatever work you are doing is carried out as efficiently as possible.
Our practical guide will take you through the essential steps to using your winch safely.
When you want to use a winch, the first challenge you will encounter is installing it. Incorrect installation can result in damage to both the winch and the vehicle it is mounted on. Unless you are an expert yourself, it is best to have the winch installed by your dealer or mechanic, which will typically cost between $ 100 and $ 200. A professional mechanic will also be able to ensure that the proper bumper is installed to handle the winch. Most original bumpers will not cope with the stresses of towing with a winch.
Once the winch is installed, you will need to pre-tension the cable before its first proper use. This process is pretty straightforward – just connect the cable to the drum at one end and a heavy object (like another car) at the other. Make sure your vehicle is in the park, with the emergency brake on and the wheels stabilized, before starting the winch. The tension provided by the heavy object you are pulling wraps the cable around the drum properly.
- Front Mount Winches
The winches mounted on the front of the vehicle are there for self rescue. If your AVT gets stuck in mud or rock, you can connect the winch to a nearby anchor point to tow it back to safety, with the following steps:
- Connect winch remote controland run the cable to the driver’s seat, so …