What Size Winch Do I Need For My Truck? Detailed Guide 2023

Winches can come in handy in many miserable situations, making them a basic necessity for vehicles.

At the same time, some people are hesitant to invest in such things.

Because of the perceived difficulty of its installation and size issues.

The size of the winch depends on the load being carried by the vehicle.

While considering this important fact.

It becomes quite evident that if you do not want to have the useless burden of purchasing something too big for your truck.

You need to calculate the exact load and weight.

The best way to calculate the size of winch needed for your truck is to follow a very simple procedure

That would involve doing some physical labor, following a few rules, and keeping a few points in mind.

This would not be as hard as it sounds; just go through the instructions below and follow them accordingly. Here are some easy ways to find out what size winch you need for your truck.

What Size Winch Do I Need For My Truck? Different Guidelines For Different Trucks

1. For Low Capacity Trucks ( Less Than 5000lbs )

Calculate the length and width of the truck using your car or any other vehicle with similar specifications.

Add two times the size of the rear wheel wells, plus one extra foot in width for your bumper, thus creating a complete set of measurements from front to back of the vehicle.


Take this number and then divide it by 5 to get the total length in feet of the vehicle.

Divide this length by 4 to get the vehicle’s width in feet.

The area under the loader will determine the amount of power required.

Hence you need to consider the dimensions of the space beneath the loader when choosing the size of the winch you will be using.

If you are looking for an economical option, consider buying a 1500-2000lb model, which is sufficient for light trucks and jeeps.

If you have a bigger rig, consider getting a 3500-4000lb model, while if you have a heavier duty job, then get a 6000-8000lb model.

2. For Mid-Size Trucks ( 5000-6000lbs )

 Take the same method used in the previous step but use this time to approximate the number of winches required for your truck.

This method works better when you have only one or two cars on your list because if you have many vehicles on your list, this method may not be very accurate.

3. Heavy Weight Trucks or Cargo Carriers

For Trucks weighing over 10000 lbs or that have a large capacity cargo box/tow bar system:

A suitable 6000-8000lb heavy-duty winch is needed for these types of vehicles.


Once you have determined the correct size, measure the entire space available beneath

The loader and compare it to the diameter of the drum on the winch.

Take the two numbers and multiply them together to get the weight of the drum in pounds.

Next, find the drum diameter in inches and multiply it by 0.945 to get the exact number of inches you need for the hook (line eye) size of the winch.

The loader’s manufacturers usually indicate the maximum length of a line they recommend using with their products.

Use this as a guideline to select the proper length of line that will reach from the bottom of the loader to the desired destination, such as a tree or fence.

About Selection of Line Size

Also, note that most manufacturers’ recommended lines are about 8″ meters long.

So when selecting a line, you should try to pick one that is slightly longer than this recommended length.

After determining the size of the hook (line eye) on the winch, please choose the right line by considering its tensile strength and safety factors.


 If you are using steel ropes, then go for ropes with a strength rating between 120kgs and 300kgs.

While a 3/8″ thick rope with a working load limit of 30kgs should be sufficient for plastic coated wire ropes with a breaking strength of 20kgs.

The total weight of the rope must not exceed 6kg per meter (17lbs per 1000′), while any solid cables must not exceed 3kg per meter (5lbs per 1000′).

The ultimate safety factor for wire ropes should be 10:1 or even greater.

Still, since this will greatly increase the cost of the rope, it is generally advisable to stick to lower safety factors for economic reasons.

Safety Factor & How to Select Rope

For high tensile ropes like 7/16″ cable and 9/16″ nylon rope, safety factors can be quite low at only 2:1 or even 1:1.

For high-strength synthetic ropes like 1/2″ stainless steel rope and 2″ Spectra® Fiberglass rope.

Safety factors should be no less than 4:1 or even higher, especially when there is no physical failure in the rope itself.

 In such cases, if you cannot find any data regarding safety factors for a particular type of rope, just look for something else that has higher safety factors.

For highly rated lines such as 12mm chain or 18mm alloy chain, you can consider these chains with an overall breaking strength of 400-800kg or more.

Installation Process Of Winches In Trucks


The installation procedure will also vary based on the type of vehicle you have.

Some cars can be attached easily, while others require professional help to install them.

You should make sure that you know how to do it yourself before taking any step towards installing a winch.

1. Getting hold of the required components

This involves getting hold of the parts required for the installation of the winch.

The necessary components include:

  1. mounts
  2. shafts
  3. knobs
  4. ratchets
  5. cranks
  6. axles
  7. wires
  8. rope
  9. mounting pads
  10. washers
  11. locking collars
  12. quick links
  13. chains
  14. bearings
  15. springs
  16. seals
  17. hardware
  18. gear oil
  19. among others.

2. Rigging up the base

Rigging up the base

Installation of the winch is contingent on its rigging up base.

It can be made from different materials, including rubber and other composite materials.

A square-shaped wooden board or steel plate will also do as a base.

However, when opting for a steel plate, make sure it is properly lubricated so that it does not get worn out due to friction and reduces the durability of the installation.

3. Securement of mounting hardware

Once the base is properly fitted with all the mounting hardware, it will be attached to the vehicle using nuts and bolts.

This process should be followed very carefully.

Any wrong action could result in major accidents and thus require proper supervision and expertise.

4. Attaching the rope

The ropes should be attached using an ideal pulley system after securing the base with all the nuts and bolts.

It should also be equipped with tension control mechanisms to prevent mishaps from attaching the rope.

Proper adjustment and manipulation of these mechanisms will prevent mishaps during operation.

5. Setting up the mechanism

The setting up of the pulley mechanism will involve tightening all the nuts and bolts that have been attached in the previous step and ensuring that they are secured tightly to avoid slippage.

After this step is completed, you can tighten the mounting pad bolts located at the bottom of the winch base.

6. Installation of a spool

Once the pulley mechanism is ready, you can install the spool onto the winch base.

Ensure that you check that all the holes on the spool are aligned with the corresponding holes on the winch base so that they fit together seamlessly.

Installation of a spool

Also, ensure that you insert the hook onto the hooking eyelet located at the rear end of the spool and adjust.

The position to align perfectly with the two-end eyes on the winch base.

You can also take some time to mount the LED lighting assembly onto the winch base using screws that have been provided in the box.

After completing this step, you can now place the cable through the grooves on the side of the spool and fix it firmly using a wrench.

After installing the spool onto the winch base, you can install the battery pack onto the winch base using a ratchet tool.

Once you have done this, you can connect the wiring harnesses from the battery pack to the rear LED lights using wire ties.

You can now turn on the switch to initiate the first testing procedure of the winch.

You can check if the LED lights work properly or not by simply pressing the test button located at the back of the unit.

7. The Towing Test

This is a basic test that will enable you to identify whether the wiring harness is correctly connected or not.

It is essential to conduct this test before starting the first actual towing operations with the winch.


If you want to do this test correctly, then you should make sure that you turn on the unit for about 30 seconds

Before proceeding to perform the first actual towing operation.

The purpose of this testing procedure is to identify whether the wire harness is functioning correctly or not.

If you see any burning smell coming from the unit, then it means something is wrong with the wiring harness, and it needs to be replaced immediately.

However, if you do not smell any burning smell, it means that everything is alright, and you can go ahead and use the winch for its intended purpose.

After conducting this test, you can now proceed to check whether the power button of the winch is working properly or not.

This will be very important for ensuring that you can activate the winch at the correct time without having to look at the buttons located on the control panel.

After activating the power button, you can press the toggle switch for about two seconds to ensure that the LED lights start working properly.


You can choose the size according to the needs of your trucks which are described in a detailed guide.

Once you have done all the steps mentioned above, you can finally install the winch on your truck.

Make sure that you connect the battery cable first and check whether it is in good condition or not.

Also, make sure that you have enough lubricant and protectors with you to make sure that you are using the right equipment and tools for your truck.

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