How To Wire A Winch like a Pro in 2023 [ 5 Steps]

­Winches are essential elements of your automobile that come in useful in situations when you’re trapped or assisting another vehicle that’s stuck. 

You can find them on the front or back of the vehicle, with certain vehicles having them on both sides. 

Given its importance, knowing how to wire a winch without a solenoid is essential.

In electromagnetically driven winches, the solenoid is the cable coil. 

It creates a consistent magnetic field when an electric current flows through the wire. 

When you check the winches solenoid wiring schematic, you’ll note that the cables serve as switches.

This article will teach you how to wire a winch using some simple steps.

When Do You Need to Wire a Winch?

The solenoid is crucial to the winch motor, which is a well-known fact. As previously stated, it lowers the stress level, preventing the winch from overheating. 

It’s also simple to operate, and you’ll notice its effectiveness when you need it.

However, there are times when you must wire a winch without the use of a solenoid. 

One of the situations is when polluted or filthy gases are detected, indicating an excess. As a mechanic, you must respond quickly to avoid future problems that might be more serious.

Another circumstance where you should avoid a solenoid is if you detect overheating, as the wiring may generate energy at times.

The scenarios given to answer a common issue among mechanics and car repair specialists: would you need a solenoid on a winch? 

Yes, it is necessary to protect the winch motor, especially because replacing a solenoid is less expensive than replacing the motor.

You may, however, manage without it, albeit you must exercise additional caution to avoid secondary difficulties with your car’s winch system.

In most situations, a solenoid bypasses to verify the winch motor’s functionality. It’s crucial, especially if it’s not working and you want to rule out a solenoid switch problem.

Also, check techniques to attach Cable to Winch Drum

How to Wire a Winch: Step by Step Guide

Items required:

A spanner or pliers

Jumper cables

A winch solenoid diagram

Step 1

In mechanics, you must have a clear vision of what you want to do, focusing on the goal and the intended outcomes.

Now a winch solenoid wire diagram might come in handy since it will tell you the motor’s layout. Later on, when you need to identify your wires and terminals, the schematic will come in handy. 

The maker or other technicians with expertise with your winch kind can provide you with a graphical depiction.

Step 2

The next stage is to set the winch in an open spool, similar to shifting into neutral in your automobile. 

You accomplish this by twisting a knob, which makes it simple to change the system. To avoid an accident, make sure there’s nothing in the winch before using this mode.

Step 3

­Beginning with the positive lead, detach the connections from the cell. You should, though, keep the grounded lead active. 

It would help name the wires on the schematic to avoid misunderstandings that might lead to misleading results. 

To assist you in separating the terminals, bring a set of pliers or a wrench. Now, label A, F1, and F2 on the three poles near the engine.

Step 4

You’ll need to bring your switch wires; a 5-6-inch cable would suffice. Run the line from point A to b F1 and attach it to the battery via F2. 

The winch engine should only operate in one direction once you’ve completed this connection.

Step 5

­Do the process again with the A and F2 posts, then connect the F1 connection to the power source. When the connection is complete, the motor will run in the contrary direction.

These are the procedures you take to see whether you need to replace your winch solenoid. 

It’s an excellent approach to figure out what’s wrong with your winch solenoid. If the motor runs smoothly in both directions, the problem might be with the valve.


And, this is how to wire a winch. 

If the battery termination clamp screws are big enough, you can connect the winch power cables straight to them, but you might want to buy in and build military-style terminals instead. 

These are accessible for a few dollars apiece at auto parts shops and supermarkets and feature a second extra-long screw connecting all sorts of other electrical things. 

A solenoid, or electromagnetic switch, is used in modern winches. 

It’s an essential component that ensures the winch operates appropriately by regulating the electric charge from the car’s engine. 

You may wish to bypass the valve in some instances, such as while troubleshooting it.

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.