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Does a 10K Winch REALLY Pull 10,000 lbs?

This 10K Midnight Recovery Winch has the capacity to pull 10,000 pounds is all the required factors are met.

This 10K Midnight Recovery Winch has the capacity to pull 10,000 pounds if all the required factors are met.

The short answer to this question? Yes…BUT there are several factors that determine how much your 10,000 lb winch (or any other winch) can pull, including the following:

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  • There must be only one full layer of cable left on the drum.
  • The vehicle being pulled must be on solid ground (not mud, sand, or any other “sucking” surface).
  • The vehicle being pulled must have properly inflated tires and be able to roll easily.
  • The winch must NOT be pulling the vehicle up an incline.
  • The winch must receive adequate 12 volt power and amp draw.

If you are pulling a 10,000 pound load and then STOP winching, there will be more than one layer of cable on the drum, which means that when you try to start winching again, your winch may not be able to handle the load.

As more layers stack up on the drum, your rated line pull drops. For example, if you have 3 wraps on the drum after you stop pulling, you’ll only have about 6500 pounds of pulling capacity when you start pulling again. See the following table for an example of how much the rated line pull of a 10K recovery winch would drop per layer:

10,000 LB Rated Line Pull

Layer of Cable 1st Layer 2nd Layer 3rd Layer 4th Layer
Rated Line Pull per Layer 10,000 lbs. 7,964 lbs. 6,591 lbs. 5,632 lbs.

 

So how does a winch manage to KEEP pulling a 10,000 pound load even as the layers stack up on the drum? Momentum. Although it might take 10,000 pounds to break the initial resistance and get the vehicle in motion, once it starts rolling, the momentum of the pull helps the winch keep on pulling, even though the layers are stacking up on the drum and the rated line pull is dropping.

In every winching situation, your circumstances will be different, which means that your winch may not pull as much as it’s rated for every time you use it. One way to get around this is to double the winch line using a snatch block. This will double the rated line capacity of the winch and unwind more cable from the drum, which gives you a higher line pull.

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