How to Use a Winch in 2024 [Tips & Tricks]

A significant modification you can make to your car to help you out of difficulty is a winch

Locking differentials will bring you further down the trail, and large tires will give plenty of grips, but if both break, a winch will keep you rolling

Despite this strength, many trail users appear to avoid winching at all costs

We’ve seen far too many individuals wreck their automobiles while attempting to free themselves. 

The problem might have been remedied with a simple pull from their winch. 

Let’s look at how to use a winch safely and adequately, so you don’t have any excuses not to use one.

Also check:- What is Winch and its types

How to Use a Winch [Tips]

1. Assess The Situation

When operating a winch, safety is critical. While winches are valuable instruments, the enormous pressures they create may be harmful. 

Anything powerful enough to move your stalled vehicle won’t mind if your arm or leg is in the way when spooling in. 

So, if you find yourself stopped, take a big breath, put on your gloves, and begin by analyzing the issue. 

Begin by deciding what you’ll winch to, what other recovery equipment you’ll require, and who you wish to assist. 

On trail rides, individuals, even strangers, are frequently ready to help in any way they can. This zeal can sometimes create more problems than it solves. 

A winch recovery should only take a few persons to complete. Ideally, the people who assist you are ones you know and believe, with whom you have previously dealt. 

Everybody else should remain back further than the spooled-out distance of the winch line. That way, if the cable breaks, they will not be harmed.

2. What Else You Need

Your Best winch is the most critical piece of recovery equipment in terms of weight, packing, and cost. 

You’ll want to bring a few extra items with you to make sure your winch is as efficient as possible at getting you unstuck

Gloves, shackles (also known as clevis or d-rings), a snatching block, a tree protector, a tow strap, and a winch adjuster are just a few examples. 

You may not even need any of these tools if you’re latching onto the back bumper of your buddy’s truck. 

However, if you’re trying to save that same friend from a rollover in a tight canyon, you may have to utilize all of those extras.

3. What To Winch To

You’ll need to winch to anything solid and heavy enough to help you come unstuck. It makes perfect sense to winch to another car if you’re on the path with another vehicle. 

That is, provided the rig is equal in size (or greater) than yours, is located in front of you, and has steady growth points. 

If that isn’t the case, you can use your tree saver rope to winch to a trunk or a huge rock. Make sure the rock or tree can sustain the weight of your car and is firmly planted so you won’t be able to drag it towards you. 

If you don’t, you could have more difficulties than just getting stuck. To reduce the anchor’s strain, link the cable as low as feasible.

Usually, you’ll want an adjustment knob that allows you to pull directly in the vehicle’s direction of travel. As the cable is spooled in, a direct pull will enable it to wound securely and evenly onto the drum. 

Although a farther anchor point may appear inconvenient, it will give the winch the most pulling force by removing more cable wraps from the drum.

4. Recovering Yourself

We recommend utilizing the winch and traveling at the very same time if you’re rescuing your vehicle. While this creates a hectic driver, there are benefits to having a single person handle the recovery. 

The tires should be traveling at the same pace as the winch in the ideal situation. This will reduce the amount of stress on the winch while also knowing when the car is free. 

If the vehicle or winch is under a lot of pressure, using both will allow you to come to a halt and reassess the situation. 

Furthermore, the winch controller wire on most winches isn’t strong enough for somebody to safely operate it while standing next to a moving car. 

However, having a second person outside the vehicle to see and function as a backup set of eyes from a safe place.

5. Recovering Another Vehicle

We advise using the winch from outside of the 4×4 if your vehicle is rescuing another car so you can assess the situation. If you’re a third party with you, have them apply the brakes on your car. 

They will be immediately in the line of the winch pull, but they are not required to observe what is going on. If the winch cable breaks, raising your hood will shield them from damage. 

It’s also a good idea to have them raise the idle to around 2,000 RPM to get the most out of the alternator’s power back into the battery charger. 

Winches use a large quantity of current and produce a lot of heat.

So, this is how to use a winch!

Note: Learn how does a winch work & How to Attach Cable to Winch Drum


We hope you found the article on “how to use a winch” helpful. 

If you just remember one thing about winching, it should be to take your time. Don’t rush things, and don’t take needless chances. 

Winches are potent instruments, yet their strength is not distributed evenly. 

While we didn’t cover every scenario here, our objective was to provide you with the critical thinking skills you’ll need to assess your position and figure out how to safely exit it. 

When the cards are down, when you’re using your winch, even if it’s only to familiarise yourself with its capabilities before you really need it, the better off you’ll be.

Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn commission from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

Photo of author




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.

Leave a Comment