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ProMark Offroad Blog

ATV Winch Mount Buying Guide

Your ATV or UTV winch needs a strong, flat mounting surface for safe operation. Besides fabricating a mount plate from scratch, you have basically three options: Model specific, universal, and receiver hitch.

Honda Foreman winch mount

Honda Foreman model specific winch mount

  1. Model Specific Winch Mounts
  2. The most popular type of winch mount is a model specific plate. Model specific winch mounts are fairly easy to install. Each mount kit is designed to fit with little or no modification. Some model specific mounts may require modification for use with certain winches, but for the most part, they mount right up with no problem. ProMark uses a winch plate wizard to help you find the right mount plate based on your make and model.

  3. Universal Mount Plates
  4. If you’re skilled in metalwork and you want to customize your mounting plate, a universal winch mount might be a good option for you. The extent of modifications needed depends on your ATV/UTV model and how you decide to mount the winch. Universal mount plates are generally cheaper, but they take a lot more work to mount.

    ATV receiver hitch mount

    ATV receiver hitch mount

  5. ATV Receiver Hitch Mounts
  6. Sometimes a receiver hitch mount makes more sense than a frame mounted winch. The nice thing about receiver mounts is that they are easy to install and they allow you to remove the winch when it’s not needed. This lightens up the load, makes wheelies easier, and prevents theft. ATV receiver hitch mounts come in 1 1/4″ and 2″ sizes to fit the size of your receiver hitch.

Winch / Mount Plate Compatibility

Make sure the mount works with your winch—obvious enough, but some winches use a 3-bolt mounting pattern and others use a 4-bolt or 2-bolt pattern. The winch size and body style can also make a difference in whether or not it will work with the mounting plate. Because of limited mounting space on some ATVs and UTVs, trimming may be required on the mount plate or bumper in order to install the winch.

Truck Winch Mounts

Truck winches require a secure mount that can withstand thousands of pounds of pressure. There are several different types of truck winch mounts available, depending on the look and style and ease of mounting that you want.

Jeep Grille Guard Mount

Jeep TJ Grille Mount

Grille Guard Mounts

For a front mounted winch, grille guard mounts offer the convenience of a grille guard and winch mount all in one. They give your rig a tough look, protect your front end from tree branches and other hazards, and are fairly easy to mount. One of the best features is that the winch is easy to access, making it easier to prevent cable binding and perform maintenance. Some grille guard mounts require no drilling or modifications, but others may require drilling or trimming.

Mounting Plates and Channels

One of the most cost-effective solutions is a mounting plate or channel. Most universal channels will require custom drilling and cutting to fit your vehicle. Other mount plates require no drilling and simply bolt on to the front of your vehicle. With a mounting plate or channel, your winch is easy to access and, depending on any modifications needed, should be fairly simple to install.

Recovery Hitch Mount

Mobile Hitch Mount

Hitch Mounts

Receiver hitch mounts are convenient for owners who want to take the winch off when they don’t need it. Quick connect plugs make it even easier to hook up the electrical wiring. You can also install a receiver on the front end and switch the mount between the front and rear. The biggest appeal of a hitch mounted winch is the ease of installation. With the right setup, you can share one winch among several vehicles. Since the ease of installation and removal can make your winch more vulnerable to theft, use a locking hitch pin or remove the winch and lock it up at home to prevent your winch from getting stolen.

Hidden and Semi-hidden Mounts

Hidden and semi-hidden mounts are ideal for owners who want to keep the clean look of their truck or Jeep. Mounting your winch behind the bumper requires more installation time and possibly some drilling and fabrication, but if you’re fairly mechanical, it shouldn’t be a problem. Because the winch is tucked behind the bumper, you may have a harder time accessing the winch, cable, and controls. The upside is that a hidden mount keeps your winch sheltered from the elements, out of sight, and protected from thieves.

Replacement Bumper Mounts

Another option for a winch mount is to replace the entire bumper with a prefabricated bumper and winch mount. This option provides a rock-solid mounting point, but it requires more installation time and a fatter budget. Drilling and cutting will most likely be required.

New! Jeep Wrangler CJ and YJ Winch Mounts from ProMark Offroad

Jeep CJ Winch Mount

The Jeep CJ Winch Mount (shown above) includes all hardware.

New winch mount plates are in at ProMark Offroad for the Jeep CJ (up to 1986) and Jeep YJ (1987-1995). These heavy duty mount plates are designed to mount a self recovery winch to your Jeep without drilling. The mount bolts to the factory bolt locations on the top of your bumper. All hardware is included.

The CJ and YJ Jeep mounts are designed to work with the ProMark Silverback and Midnight Series recovery winches, but they will also work with similar-style Warn, Ramsey, and other brand name winches.

These Jeep winch mounts are now available for only $79.99. Free shipping to the lower 48 United States!

Jeep Wrangler CJ Winch Mount Plate (up to 1986)
  • 10″ x 4 1/2″ Standard Winch Mount Pattern
  • 10″ On Center Fairlead Bolt Pattern
  • 27.5″ Long x 7.25″ Wide x 4″ Tall
  • No-Drill Mount for Jeep Wrangler CJ up to 1986
  • Manufacturer Part Number WP-CJ
Jeep Wrangler YJ Winch Mount Plate (1987-1995)
  • 10″ x 4 1/2″ Standard Winch Mount Pattern
  • 10″ On Center Fairlead Bolt Pattern
  • 23.5″ Long x 7.25″ Wide x 4″ Tall
  • No-Drill Mount for Jeep Wrangler YJ 1987-1995
  • Manufacturer Part Number WP-YJ

Where to Mount a Winch on a Truck or Jeep

10,000 lb Truck and Jeep Winch

10,000 lb Truck and Jeep Winch

The first step in installing a winch on your truck or Jeep is to choose a mounting location. Obviously, the front bumper is the logical choice, but beyond that, you have to decide exactly where to mount it. Two major considerations are 1) a location that gives you the best access to the winch, and 2) a location that offers a certain amount of protection from street or trail damage.


If you can’t get at your recovery winch when you need to use it, or if you have to take apart the entire front bumper just to change out the cable or work on your winch, it’s going to be a pain to maintain your winch. On the other hand, mounting the winch behind the front bumper means that it’s more difficult to steal. So figure out what’s most important to you, and choose your mount location accordingly.

36 inch Universal Mounting Channel

36 inch Universal Mounting Channel

Another thing to consider is whether or not the winch mounting location allows you to keep the factory bumper. If you plan to upgrade the bumper anyways, no problem. But if you want to keep the factory bumper, you’ll need to take that into consideration when you choose a mounting location.


The lower the winch, the less it blocks airflow to the radiator. Depending on what type of offroading you do, a low-mounted winch or a winch mounted behind the factory bumper may be just fine if you play it safe on the trail and wheel in dry conditions. On the other hand, if you wheel in a lot of mud, snow, or water, you’ll want to mount the winch higher off the ground in such a way that your setup doesn’t limit the approach angle of the vehicle.

Another option you have is to get a receiver-style winch mount that allows you to mount the winch when you need it and take it off when you don’t.

36″ Universal Mounting Channel for Recovery Winches

This Universal Mounting Channel provides a solid mounting location for your truck or Jeep winch.

This Universal Mounting Channel provides a solid mounting location for your truck or Jeep winch.

Now available from PROMARK OFFROAD is a 36″ Universal Mounting Channel for Recovery Winches.


This heavy duty mounting plate is constructed with 3/16″ powder coated steel for a durable finish. The mounting channel allows for custom mounting applications on Jeeps, trucks, SUVs, 4x4s, and similar off road vehicles.

The 36″ Universal Mounting Channel is designed to work with all PROMARK recovery winches, including the Midnight and Silverback Series. It will also work with Warn, Ramsey, and other name brand winches that are designed with a 10″ x 4 ½” bolt pattern.

The front of this mount is pre-drilled for a standard 10″ roller fairlead or hawse fairlead. Basic mounting hardware is included. Get yours now for only $64.99 + Free Shipping!

Universal Mounting Channel Specifications

Universal Mounting Channel Specifications

Winch Mounting Kits

A vehicle-specific winch mount makes it easy to install your winch.

A vehicle-specific winch mount makes it easy to install your winch.

Although it’s possible to mount your winch directly to your vehicle, the best and most secure way to mount a winch is with a mounting kit. If you choose not to use a mounting kit, you’ll need to drill holes in the structural support of your vehicle (which most guys don’t want to do), and you need to be 100% sure that drilling those holes won’t compromise the strength of the structural support.


The pulling forces of the winch can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the mounting location, so be aware of this if you choose to mount the winch directly to the structural support. Also be aware that without some of the equipment included in the mounting kit, you may not be able to operate your winch safely.

A winch mounting kit can be universal or vehicle-specific. Universal mount plates are generally cheaper, but you’ll most likely need to do a custom fab job to get the plate to fit just right. Vehicle-specific plates are designed with your vehicle’s specifications in mind, which means you can easily mount your winch without customizing the plate. So although you might shell out a few more dollars for a vehicle-specific plate, the ease of installation is worth it.

Another option is to go with a receiver hitch mount. These mounts are designed to be moved from front to rear for more winching options. You can also remove the winch and mount altogether if you don’t need it. It takes some extra weight off your quad or truck and keeps your winch out of the elements when it’s not being used.

Best Winch Mounting Location

A high mounted ATV winch is easier to maintain, view, and access.

A high mounted ATV winch is easier to maintain, easier to access, and easier to view during operation.

Where you mount your ATV or truck winch can make a difference in the maintenance requirements and lifespan of the winch, especially if you ride in muddy, swampy, or wet conditions.


On some ATVs and trucks, you might not have the option to mount the winch in any other spot than the OEM mounting spot, but if you have the option to mount the winch higher, or if you can build a custom mount with the proper frame support, you might want to mount your winch higher rather than lower.


Advantages of a High Mounted Winch

  1. Mounting the winch higher keeps it out of the mud and water. Constant exposure to mud and water is hard even on a waterproof winch. Without proper maintenance, the buildup of abrasive materials inside the winch housing and gears can lead to corrosion and can degrade the lubrication inside the winch.
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  3. Mounting the winch higher keeps it cleaner, which means less maintenance on your part and a longer lifespan for the winch. A winch cover also helps keep your winch clean and dry.
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  5. Mounting the winch higher gives you easy access to the winch when you need it. If you bury your ATV or truck with a low mounted winch, you’ll be forced to dig down into the mud and water to get to your winch. Not to mention, operating a submerged winch can cause major damage.
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  7. Mounting the winch higher keeps it visible. If the winch is higher, it’s easier to watch out for cable stacking. Letting the cable stack up too high on one side of the drum is a major cause of winch damage. It can also result in a “bird’s nest” that won’t be easy to untangle. A low-placed or hidden winch mount can block your view of the cable as it spools, increasing the chance of a bird’s nest or damaged winch. Keep that in mind when choosing a winch mount.

Precautions for High Mounted Winches

Keep in mind that you’ll need to hook up to an anchor point that’s higher than the winch. If the anchor point is too low, the winch can bog your vehicle further down in the mud. If necessary, use a snatch block to hook up to an anchor point and then attach the winch hook to a low anchor point on your vehicle (lower than the winch). If you ride in areas with few natural anchor points, however, you may run into problems finding an anchor point higher than your winch. In this case, you might want to mount the winch lower on your vehicle.

On most ATVs or trucks, you might need to build or buy a custom mount to install the winch higher than the OEM winch location. Just make sure the mounting points are strong enough to withstand the force of a hard pull. The winch should be attached to the frame for the strongest reinforcement.

Quick Connect Winch Wiring

Quick Connect Winch Wiring lets you easily move your ATV winch from front to rear.

Quick Connect Winch Wiring lets you easily move your winch from front to rear.

Ever find yourself stuck in a spot where you couldn’t get to your winch to pull out? If you have a front winch on your ATV but you can’t get to your winch to use it, it’s not going to do you much good. A permanent winch mount is great for most situations, but the option to use your winch in front or in the rear gives you more flexibility when you need it.


A receiver hitch mount and quick connect wiring let you move your winch whenever you need to or even take it off when you don’t need it. With quick connect winch wiring, all you have to do is connect a plug, and you’re good to go. Quick connect wiring makes it quick and easy to hook up your winch with a receiver hitch mount.

A quick connect wiring kit comes with everything you need to hook up your winch to the power source on the front or rear of your ATV. All winch leads, power leads, and plugs are included. The power leads come in different lengths so that you can reach the battery or power source from the front or the rear of your quad.

First-Time Winch Buyer’s Guide

We’ve put together a checklist for first-time winch buyers.

The Basics:

checkmark21 Winch (Find out more about choosing a winch here.)

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.).

checkmark21 Mount Plate

ATV mount for Yamaha Grizzly

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:

checkmark21 Gloves, Snatch Block, Tree Strap, Clevis

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.


checkmark21 Winch Cover

Using a winch cover is one of the easiest ways to protect your winch and reduce the need for cleaning and maintenance.

checkmark21 Remote Control

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.

checkmark21 Rubber Stopper

A winch stopper keeps your cable hook from tangling up in the winch housing as you respool.

checkmark21 Synthetic Cable Extension

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.