Installing a winch seems like a daunting task, and it is not one to be taken lightly – installing it incorrectly could seriously damage your winch and your vehicle, and potentially even put you or other people at risk. While many people choose to get their winches installed by a professional, you may prefer a DIY approach, which will require a little bit of research before you begin.
This guide from Atlas Winch Hire & Hoist Services walks you through not only the benefits of installing a vehicle winch at all but explains the basics of how you can go about installing the winch yourself. It is possible to install a winch safely and correctly yourself, but if you’re on the fence and considering enlisting the help of a professional, fret not – we’ve also included a section to help you decide whether DIY or professional installation is the right option for you.
Any off-road driver knows the chances of their vehicle getting stuck are significantly higher than other drivers, whether this is as a result of an off-roading hobby or working in an industry such as construction or farming. A winch is a great option for any such drivers, as it allows them to pull their vehicle out of any sticky situation safely and with minimal or no assistance from others. This vehicle modification offers a range of benefits, some of which we will explore below:
As mentioned above, there may be times when your vehicle gets stuck and four-wheel drive or a tow-strap isn’t enough to free your vehicle. There will also potentially be times when there isn’t enough room for more than one vehicle or the conditions don’t allow for another vehicle to pull you out, so you must anchor to a tree or boulder instead.
A winch removes both of these issues by enabling you to free your vehicle quickly and safely, no matter what the situation is and how stuck your vehicle is.
There may be times when your vehicle gets stuck in a very tight spot and any extreme or abrupt movements could cause damage to your vehicle or worsen the situation. Winches are extremely stable and can deliver very controlled motions in smooth, small increments, making it the safest and least damaging method of pulling your vehicle to safety.
Even though winches are most commonly used to free your vehicle from a sticky situation, they can also help you traverse tricky terrains, such as steep hills, rocky terrain, or even deep and/or muddy water. This opens a number of doors for both off-roading enthusiasts and those who must brave all sorts of landscapes for work purposes. It can also provide a little extra peace of mind that you and your vehicle can make it through safely.
The standard length of a winch cable is around 100 feet, which is around 3 times as long as a traditional tow-strap. This longer reach offers more options and greater leverage when it comes to deciding on the best way to pull your vehicle out of a tight spot
Winches are available in all sorts of sizes and configurations, so you will always have a variety of options available to you when deciding what winch you need. Whether you require a winch for a business vehicle – for instance, if you work in construction or farming – or you just want to go on an off-road driving adventure, you are sure to find winch products that suit your specific requirements.
Some factors to consider when choosing a winch are: your vehicle’s model; horsepower; towing capacity; budget; and motor type.
Now that you have learned the basics, you may be ready to install your new winch. If you are opting for DIY approach, we can help you get your new winch set up with this step-by-step guide
Before starting the process of installing your winch, you must take certain safety precautions. To be as safe as possible, follow the below advice:
- Make sure the area you’re working in is clean and cleared of clutter.
- Make sure you wear gloves.
- Do not wear loose clothing.
Your winch should be mounted into a suitable steel mounting frame using the four mounting configurations. Before mounting the winch, be sure that the mounting plate is capable of withstanding the winch’s rated capacity and that you have chosen a winch frame that is suitable for your vehicle.
Foot down: In this mounting configuration, the winch’s four mounting holes are at the bottom.
Foot forward: In this mounting configuration, the winch’s four mounting holes are facing forward.
Foot down OR foot forward: The winch can be mounted either in the foot down position or foot forward position.
Foot forward AND foot down: The winch is designed with four bolts that are used for foot forward mounting position, and two that are used in the foot down position. These winches cannot be mounted in the foot down position only.
The winch should be secured tightly with dacromet-coated bolts and spring washers.
Be sure to lubricate the winch with high temperature lithium grease during mounting.
The most common way of installing electric winches is to mount them at the front of the vehicle and power them using the vehicle’s battery. Here is a step-by-step guide to connecting your new winch to your vehicle’s battery:
- Connect the positive wire (+), usually red in colour, to the positive post (+) on the winch.
- Connect the negative wire (-), usually black or brown in colour, to the ground post on the winch.
- Move both wires from the front into the engine section.
- Keep the wires away from any significant heat sources and make sure the wiring will not rub or get pinched.
- Connect the positive wire (+) from the winch to the positive post (+) on the battery.
- Connect the negative wire (-) from the winch to the negative ground (-) post on the battery.
It’s best to keep your engine on when operating the winch to avoid draining your battery.
Mounting a winch can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re worried about doing it wrong or are unsure of what you are doing. It might seem simpler and more efficient to leave the task to someone who has the knowledge and experience to do it correctly and safely first time around.
The winch itself is likely to cost a fair bit – unless you opt for winch hire, rather than purchase – so you’ll need to work out whether professional installation is doable on your budget. Bear in mind that you’ll also need to purchase other winch products such as a mount plate or a spare winch cable, which will only add to the cost.
The kind of winch you have purchased, its weight, and how you would like to attach it to your vehicle will all play a part in the cost of a professional winch mounting service. It can cost as little as £60 or as much as £250+, plus it’s likely that the more reputable the company and the better the service, the higher the price will be. You essentially need to work out whether having the job done accurately and efficiently is worth the cost.
Also, it’s worth considering how good a job you’d be able to do yourself. If you’re very unsure of what you’re doing, you may end up having to pay a professional anyway – for instance, if your DIY installation goes wrong and you require repairs, or you give up and decide to leave it to the experts after all. Paying a little more upfront for professional installation might, therefore, save you extra costs further down the road.
As well as potentially being a cost effective solution – depending on your circumstances – professional installation can offer many more benefits. Here are just a few that are worth considering before you make your decision:
- Saves you time and effort. This is especially true if your winch is going to be used for business purposes, as you can focus on your day-to-day tasks rather than spending valuable work hours on installing your winch.
- Installation will be completed to a higher standard. While it’s possible that you’ll do a good job yourself, it’s still unlikely to be quite as good as an expert.
- Provides peace of mind. A higher quality installation will also most likely mean your winch is more secure, which will increase the safety of not only your winch, but also yourself and your vehicle. A winch that is properly installed can also provide more guarantees when it comes to insurance, as there is less chance of the winch being at fault should there be an incident or a case of equipment failure.
- Installation company may also provide maintenance services. This can help to ensure the continued good condition of your winch, without adding a whole load of extra tasks to your to-do list. Professionals are best-placed to spot issues and carry out necessary repairs, as well as ensuring your winch’s compliance with relevant regulations.
If you need high-quality winch products or maintenance service, look no further than Atlas Winch Hire & Hoist Services. We stock a variety of winches, as well as the equipment and accessories to go along with them. With years of experience under their belts, our experts will gladly talk through your requirements and recommend the right equipment for you. Call us today on 01371 859 555 (Essex) or 01899 221 577 (Scotland).