Here’s some tips on how to find the right size winch for your quad or truck.
One of the first questions to ask when you’re looking for an off road winch is what size you need. The basic rule of thumb is to multiply the gross weight of your vehicle by 1.5. The gross vehicle weight includes a full tank of gas, the driver and passengers, and all of the tools and gear you carry along with you. Weigh your fully loaded vehicle on a truck scale for the most accurate total, or if you can’t weigh your rig on a scale, estimate the gross weight as precisely as you can.
This total gives you the minimum rating needed for your rig. Note that this is only the minimum. If you wheel in mud, the sucking force of the mud will make your winch work harder. The same rule applies to other situations where getting unstuck requires extra power. When you’re trying to decide on the best winch size, take into account where you ride and how bad you might get stuck.
Another factor that you should consider is how the extra weight of the winch will affect your vehicle. Check out the manufacturer’s rated load capacity for the front or rear of your vehicle—depending on where you plan to mount the winch—and make sure that the winch is not too heavy for your truck or quad.
This load rating will limit how big a winch you can mount on your vehicle. If you’re tempted to buy a bigger winch than you need, remind yourself that it’s not worth the extra weight. This extra weight can change the way that your vehicle handles and increase your chances of tipping or rolling, so don’t overload your ATV or truck.
How high or low you mount the winch can also affect the handling of your vehicle and its center of gravity. Give yourself time to get used to the changes in handling before you try any crazy stunts.
Before you buy a winch, check the dimensions to make sure it will fit in the mount space on your rig. Finally, remember that you can always double your winch capacity with a snatch block. So even if you get into an unusually sticky situation, you can always double up the cable for a stronger (but slower) pull.