Other than tires, steel bumpers, and other similar equipment, a winch is one of the most important accessories to have on your Jeep or truck. Used safely and correctly, winches give you the ability to get out of trouble and continue on your way. Yet there is more to winch selection than just bolting one onto your off-road truck.
To have the pulling power you need and avoid dangerous situations, you need a truck winch bumper equipped with a winch that has enough capacity to pull your truck. You also need to know how capacity works and how to get the most effort from that winch.
Determining Winch Capacity Requirements
When selecting a winch, you need to establish how strong that winch needs to be for it to be useful to you. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do by using a simple calculation. To determine the minimum pulling capacity required for any winch installed on your truck bumper, multiply your gross vehicle operating weight (GWR) by 1.5. The resulting number is the minimum capacity you need to pull your off-road truck out of a sticky situation. You can find your GVWR on the sticker inside your truck's driver door.
Once you’ve figured out your minimum required capacity, you can start looking for a winch. If your number is between options, choose the one with the higher capacity. Technically, you could mount one with an even higher than your required capacity; however, don't purchase a winch with a lower capacity than what is calculated or you could end up facing winch failure in a crisis situation.
Understanding Pulling Capacity
Now that you’ve got the right winch, you should also know how to use it effectively. Since a spooled cable or rope reduces the capacity of the winch as it’s being layered on the spool drum, the winch is most effective when the cable is completely stretched out and off the drum. As the winch pulls in the cable and the cable begins to spool, pulling efficiency is reduced more with each layer that spools on the drum. The winch loses as much as 15% of its capacity with each layer added to the drum.
Get the Most From Your Winch
Based on this effect, the best way to start any pull is with the cable stretched out and completely off the drum. In doing so, it is easier to break the truck free and get it moving forward. Once the vehicle has a bit of rolling momentum, it is easier to keep pulling and the reduction in winching capacity becomes less of an issue.
You’ll get the best results and be able to utilize your full pulling capacity by always starting with your cable stretched out fully from its location on your truck winch bumper. If the only anchor points are too close to stretch the cable out, use a snatch block to double-pull out. This will allow you to take advantage of the full capacity of the winch and even double your pulling power while reducing strain on the winch motor.
- Figure out what kind of pulling capacity you need to safely pull your vehicle before investing in any winches - or truck winch bumpers, for that matter. Many times the bumper must be purchased according to the physical size of the winch.
- Remember that you’ll get the most efficient use of that power by always starting to winch with the cable or rope fully unrolled.
By remembering these two details, you can get years of safe service from the winch you ultimately choose to buy for that new truck winch bumper made by those innovative folks at Fab Fours!