How to Test a Winch Motor [Winch Bench Test] in 2023

In this article let’s learn How to Test a Winch Motor.

In terms of functioning, the winch motor is one of the essential components of a non-manual winch. 

Without that, the winch will not operate and will only be used for replacement components. 

A winch is useless unless it has a good, functional engine.

Here are a few techniques to verify the functioning of your winch motor to ensure that it is working correctly or that it is not damaged.

Before that learn how to use a winch properly & how a winch works

Safety Measures

winch Safety Tips

Before we get into the different tests, you may do on your winch motor, make sure you know and follow the essential safety precautions.

Put on gloves. It is the most fundamental safeguard you can take. Make sure that your gloves are sturdy and of high quality.

Avoid fire risks and make sure that there are no combustible materials in the vicinity. Flames from the winch’s electrical parts may ignite these items. Keep a fire extinguisher close.

Examine your tools. Ensure that none of your equipment is destroyed and that it is of the best quality. Damaged equipment may result in unnecessary harm.

How to Test a Winch Motor 

Jumper Cable Test

winch Jumper Cable test

It is a test of the winch’s motor to determine if it works. It is a relatively easy technique that requires a basic grasp of how machines and electricity function. To do the jumper cable test, follow these instructions.

  1. Disconnect the winch cables from the car.
  1. Make sure your vehicle’s battery is charged. Either your vehicle’s battery or a backup battery will suffice.
  1. Link the battery to the winch using jumper wires. Although polarity is not necessary in this case, the red cable is typically placed on the end of the battery and the dark cable on the opposing end.
  1. Connect the opposite end of the dark cable to either of the winch’s ports.
  1. Softly touch the other terminal of the winch with the cheerful red cable. The winch should respond electrically as a result of this. If the winch drum moves, it implies your motor is operational. 

If not, you may terminate this trial. There might be an issue with the winch’s electronic systems, or You could damage the engine.

  1. You can link it to the termination if the winch drum rolls when you touch the positive wire on the connector. The winch drum should now be turning in a single direction.
  1. Attempt to reverse the connections. The winch drum should now be rotating in the opposite direction.

Also check: How to Recable a Winch

Possible Problems 

  • A blown fuse

It is mainly an electrical issue. There’s a possibility your winch draws too much electricity, which may cause the fuse to blow and the circuit connection to be disrupted. You may solve the issue by changing the fuse.

  • A short circuit

Damaged wires inside the winch may create a short in the circuitry. The problem may be with the changeover. Examine all of the cords to ensure that there are no exposed wires.

  • Damaged brushes

If you get a spark when you touch the positive cable on the winch socket, it signifies that the electrical connection is fine. 

However, if the winch drum still did not move, there may be an issue with the motor brushes. You may resolve this issue by changing the brushes. Remove the damaged pieces from the motor casing and replace them.

Voltage Drop Test

  • Set a multimeter to VDC.
  • Attach one of the probes to the winch’s ground.
  • Attach the other probe to the winch’s green or yellow cord. Polarity is unimportant in this case.
  • Turn on the multimeter and the winch. The value on the multimeter should be close to the winch’s operating voltage. If this is not the case, the issue with your winch is with the electronic systems.

A straightforward solution to this problem is to clean your engine thoroughly. Although winches are designed to be highly robust, tiny particles such as dust can enter their housing. 

These particles have the potential to enter the wire and interrupt the flow of electricity.

  • Unplug the motor from the battery.
  • To wash the motor, use a toothbrush and a spritz of reasonable brake cleaning solutions.
  • For best results, clean the housing as well.
  • For best results, clean the housing as well.
  • Allow for the motor to dry while reassembling it.
  • Repeat the voltage drop or jumper cable test to determine whether the cleaning made much difference. If cleaning your motor does not provide any good results, you may have damaged motor parts. 

You might have to repair broken parts, do a total motor rebuild, or purchase a brand-new motor. If you require a motor rebuild, it is best to get an expert to perform it for you.

Also learn how to Double Winch Pulling Power


How do you use a multimeter to test a winch solenoid?

With the winch switched off, connect a voltmeter to the large studs on the solenoid. The two large studs are on the solenoid’s winch edge. If the solenoid is working correctly, the voltmeter will display 12 volts.

Why is my winch going in but not coming out?

If it functions, you know it isn’t the winch motor and a problem with the connection. The winch button on the handlebars flips the positive and negative connections to the motor, allowing it to turn in either direction.

The control box, to which the winch, battery, and switch are all connected, may also be faulty, contributing to the problem.


By now, you must have learned how to test a winch motor. 

So far, we’ve covered the majority of a winch’s performance testing. 

The best possible solutions have been offered if you come across any issues. 

Other winch components, such as the sliding gear system or engage lever, have not been discussed here. 

These elements, on the other hand, are relatively simple and maybe readily repaired.

Proper and consistent maintenance may keep your winch operating at peak performance capability for an extended period. 

However, if it has problems, this in-depth bench testing method will come in handy.

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As an avid off-road enthusiast, I know firsthand the importance of having a reliable winch. That's why I created WinchAdvice – to help fellow off-roaders like myself make informed decisions when selecting their next winch. So whether you're an experienced pro or a beginner just starting out, my website offers valuable advice and guidance on all things winching.

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