We’ve put together a checklist for first-time winch buyers.
Most likely your winch will come loaded with cable already spooled on the drum. It should also include a contactor, thumb switch, spring hook and pull strap, wiring, and all necessary hardware. Some winches come with a fairlead. Some don’t. If your winch has steel cable, you’ll need a roller fairlead. For synthetic cable, you’ll need a hawse fairlead. Your winch may also come with a few bonus features (remote control, rubber winch stopper, etc.).
There are two basic types of mount plates: 1) Universal and 2) Custom / ATV Specific. Which type of mount you choose depends on how much you like to customize on your own. If you don’t mind drilling a few holes, a universal mount can save you a few dollars. A universal mount may fit as is, but it’s not guaranteed. If you want a mount that fits your quad without any modifications, choose a mount that’s specifically designed for your ATV or truck model.
Basic Winching Accessories:
If you plan to use anything besides a straight, single-line pull, you’re going to need a few winch accessories to help you out. Gloves are essential. They protect your hands from barbs and rope burns, among other things. If you ever need to straighten out an angle pull or double up the line, a snatch block, tree strap, and clevis will come in handy. A long tree strap can also double as a tow strap. If you buy a winch accessory kit, it even comes with a bag to keep all your tools in one place.
Using a winch cover is one of the easiest ways to protect your winch and reduce the need for cleaning and maintenance.
A remote winch control helps you stay safe while winching and gives yourself more options for winching out. It’s also ideal for winching out alone.
A winch stopper keeps your cable hook from tangling up in the winch housing as you respool.
If you have synthetic rope on your winch, a cable extension can help you out in desolate terrain when your closest anchor point is just out of reach.