UTV Winches and Recovery: What to Know Before You Buy
A good winch is one of the best ways to protect your UTV. When you’re stuck deep in the mud or can’t make it up a hill, a winch can be a lifesaver. There are quite a few options available from well-known companies like Warn and ComeUp, and they’re available in a range of sizes to meet different needs. Let’s go over a few tips on UTV winch selection.
Watch the Weight When Selecting a Winch
Before choosing a winch, learn the weight of the UTV. If you’re not sure, it should be listed online or in the owner’s manual. This measurement is crucial because it determines the level of effort required to get the vehicle unstuck.
Consider Your Plans
Usage is another thing to think of when choosing a UTV winch. Though most people use them to get out of the mud, they’re much more versatile than that. It’s like having an extra set of very strong hands, and a strong winch can pull timber, haul a plow, or bring in a hunting trophy. The best winches can do all that and much more.
Choose the Right Winch For Your Needs
You’ve determined the UTV’s weight and chosen a few must-have features. Now, it’s time to do some research and make an informed decision. Most winches offer the same basic features, but they can differ widely in capacity and style.
UTV winches are listed by their pulling power, which may range from 1500 to 3000 pounds. Though it’s better to have too much power than to come up short, it’s important to consider the vehicle’s weight. For light UTVs, extra pulling capacity may be unnecessary.
Here’s a bit more info on common winch capacities:
- A sub-2000-pound winch is best for a light, small UTV. They’re popular among utility and sport-class ATV users because they fit into unmodified frame rails. With a basic winch like this, it’s easy to get over a tough hill or out of a mud hole.
- Winches with 2000 to 3000-pound capacity can handle most jobs, which makes them a great choice for UTV owners who cut timber, hunt big game, and do construction work.
With enough pulling power, it’s easy to get things done. Let us help you choose the right winch for your vehicle and your needs.
Prevent Issues With Proper Winch Mounting
Even the best winch is useless without a good mounting bracket. Warn makes some great kits, which allow the winch to withstand enormous pressure without damaging the UTV’s frame.
Installing a Warn or ComeUp winch is like making any other kind of modification, and the UTV’s electrical system is an important consideration. Before installing a winch, have the wiring and battery inspected and replaced if necessary. Thankfully, most of today’s UTVs have electrical systems that are strong enough to power a winch.
What to Look for in a UTV Winch
To make a winch easier and more convenient to use, look for these features.
- A free-spooling clutch allows the cable to unwind without pulling against the winch’s gears. When it takes less time to pull the cable, it’s easier to tie off to a solid object. This feature not only allows for quick cable releases, but it also extends the life of the winch.
- Fairleads are guides that help spools play out and rewind the cable evenly and tightly. They are available in two styles: roller and hawse. Roller fairleads protect cables from wear and tear as they’re winding and unwinding, and hawse fairleads serve a similar function.
- Remote switches are mounted on the handlebars and give the user the ability to control the winch without getting off the UTV. Some switches come with longer cords that allow for easy use when pulling a vehicle out of the mud.
- A cover will protect a winch’s motor during rides and storage, keeping dust, dirt, and debris away.
- Winch kits offer everything needed to deal with most situations, and in most cases, they do it for less than the cost of the individual components. The most popular kits contain tow straps with loops at either end, steel shackles, pulley blocks, and mesh bags for wet storage. We’ll help you find the right kit for your winch.
Proper Winch Usage
Winches are used in two ways, and the one you choose will depend on the total pulling capacity and other circumstances.
- The single-line method is used when pulling an object. Here, the cable is directly attached to a tree or the object being pulled. The winch’s pulling capacity remains unchanged, which means a 1500-pound winch will pull that weight.
- The double-line method doubles a winch’s pulling capacity via the use of pulley blocks. When using these blocks, the winch’s cable and hook are wrapped around the block and reattached to the UTV. Then, the block is anchored to a secure object, making it easier to pull the vehicle out.
When using a winch, it’s important to consider the tool’s mechanical limits. Winch manufacturers often suggest placing a blanket over the cable to prevent the snapping action created during a sudden break. Refer to the winch’s owner’s manual to learn how to use the system safely.
Consider a Manual Winch
Ratchet winches offer a mechanical option. Unlike an electronic winch, a ratchet winch can quickly be moved from the front of a UTV to the back. These winches have plenty of strength for the heaviest loads.
These winches work much like tie-down straps. There are a locking pin and a gear, and the movement is provided via a handle. The pin keeps the gear and the line in place. These simple systems offer about 900 pounds of pulling power in an economical, lightweight package.
Find the Right Winch and Get Moving
Winches add versatility to any UTV. Whether you’re going to be pulling light loads or heavy game, it’s important to choose the right winch for your vehicle and budget. With help from the experts at Offroad Power Products, it’s possible to find the perfect setup for any UTV. View our entire inventory online or call us for help and advice.
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