bumper mounted electric winchWhat is an Electric Winch?

An electric winch is a tool used to pull or lift heavy items and used on trucks, SUVs, cars, trailers and ATVs.  An auto winch is often mounted to the front bumper of the vehicle but can also be mounted on the rear, depending on requirements and expected usage.  The winch has a steel cable which is wound around a drum with a hook at the end of the cable to attach to whatever requires pulling or lifting.  The winch is motorised and the motor is attached to automobiles electrics for power.

What do you use an Electric Winch for?

Most vehicles do not come with an electric winch mounted as standard as they are considered as specialized tools.  Electric winches are used both commercially and for recreation.  Commercially, it is common to find electric winches being used on tow trucks, where someone might need to winch another car onto a trailer for transport, or 4×4 vehicles in the landscaping, power, farming, forestry and telecommunication industries where all sorts of uses can be found for an electric winch.

Read Our Review Of The Best Electric Winches For Your Money In 2019

Electric Winch Motors

The drum of the winch is powered by a motor to turn the drum and spool the cable in and out.  The motor is connected to the vehicle’s electrics which provides direct current (DC) to power the motor.  Like most electric motors, an electric current runs on opposite poles and spins a magnet within the motor which provides the power to turn the spool.  As vehicles are in nature heavy, an electric winch is a heavy duty tool which needs a lot of current from your vehicles battery to operate and pull another vehicle.  With this in mind, a lot of electric winches that you can buy are likely to need a wiring harness to attach to your vehicles electrical system.  However, these wiring harnesses tend to come with the aftermarket winches.

Winch Gear Trains

Electric winches use several different types of gear systems but essentially, whichever gear system they use, they all do the same job.  Just like on a push bike, the gears multiply a weaker force over a bigger distance into a greater force over a smaller distance.  It is this force that allows you to use a winch to pull a 4×4 or pickup out of the mud when stuck or a boat out of the water into a trailer.

Remote Control Winches

Electric winches can be operated by the control unit on the winch, or in some models, by a remote control. Remote control winches are ideal if you’re operating the winch system alone. If you’re using a remote control winch, you can watch what’s happening and make sure there are no malfunctions when you begin winching, and it allows you to stand a safe distance from the winch unit.

Other Uses

You will not only find electric winches on trucks and 4×4’s, they are now very common on smaller four wheel vehicles like ATV’s which use light weight models.  You will also find them on boat trailers, and boats themselves where they are used to winch in anchors and other heavy objects which would not be practical with a hand winch because of location and ease to get to.