A Complete Guide on Winch Bench Test

Each and every product that are described by the owners and manufacturers often are all impressive and amazing. However, you cannot trust these descriptions, abilities and capabilities of these products unless you test them.

Bench testing is another way to test these abilities. You could also do this method if you wish to get a secondhand winch. Knowing how to do bench test is convenient and useful in numerous situations. It could assure you of the winch’s performance and quality. It could also reveal some aspects that could and may not meet your expectations. Hence, by knowing how to bench test, will save you time, money and even effort.

What is a thorough bench test?

Bench testing is checking how products work. By bench testing, you will be able to examine if the item is at par to the tasks that it is created and specifically made to handle. When you are doing this type of test, you will have to be thorough. Each and every feature and function must be tested. With the case of winch, you have to examine the difference between seamless vehicle recovery or being stranded for longer than you would want.


Winches by nature are made into durable machines due to its purpose. However, though they are made durable, there are moments when you would have to do some repairs even if you regularly maintain them. In this article, we shall provide you an in-depth guide on how to troubleshoot and bench test your winch.

Before we go into details, keep in mind that if your winch is malfunctioning, this could lead for it to damage itself, its surroundings and even pose a risk of injury to you. Hence, for you to avoid serious injury, it is recommended for an authorized dealer or a professional to take care of your winch in cases when you are not too confident in dealing with your malfunctioning winch.

If the Winch Does Not Turn On

Once you have ensured that all of the electrical wiring is secured and connected and that your vehicle’s engine is running, nothing still happens after pushing the winch switch and the motor does not turn nor there is no sound, then, this means that the winch is dead and not working. This means, you will have to do some tests for you to be able to isolate the issue.

Jumper Cable Test

  • Disconnect all winch cables from the vehicle
  • Remove the battery of your vehicle including the spare battery
  • Connect the jumper cables to your vehicle battery.
  • Keep in mind that when you are connecting the jumper cables, to connect red to positive terminal and black to the negative terminal of the battery.
  • Reconnect the negative cable to any of the terminals of the winch
  • Use positive cable to softly tap the opposite terminal. If there is an electrical activity, then, all of the electrical components in the winch will work fine. The drum will then slightly move. However, if it does not, stop this test.
  • If the winch drum moves, connect the positive cable to the terminal. This will turn the winch motor in one direction
  • If you reverse the connections, the drum would then turn in the opposite direction.

Causes of the Problem and the Solution

  • this one could be a blown fuse. Hence, you will have to replace the fuse.
  • A tripped circuit breaker – reset your breaker if it has been tripped.
  • Short circuit – this could happen if the positive cable (red) gets in contact with any metal part which could lead to resetting the breaker which would lead to blow or trip and damage the switch and cause a short. the solution to this is to replace the damaged wires on the switch.
  • Bad wiring – If you have just installed your winch, then, one probability could be is the wiring. Hence, ensure that you connect your winch properly and refer to the manual.
  • If your winch does not turn on and your winch is quite a bit old, then, another possibility is that there could be a corrosion in your wiring. You will be able be able to fix this problem by using a sandpaper. Sand the terminals until they get shiny again then fit them back again.
  • Unmaintained or damaged motor – if you have done the jump cable test and you did not get any result, it could be that the damage is within the winch itself. To solve this you could do a voltage drop test. This will help you find the problems in the electrical components. Try to use a multimeter set to VDC. Connect one of the probes to the grounding and the other to the blue or yellow cable. If the reading does not move near your winch’s running voltage then the problem could lie in the electrical components. However, if it runs on 12 volts, then the problem could be that your winch’s motor just needs some cleaning. Before cleaning your winch’s motor however, keep in mind to disconnect the motor. Clean the motor through the use of a toothbrush and a good spray of brake cleaning solution. Wait for it to dry before putting it back together and testing it again. If it still does not have a result then another reason could be that you have burnt the coil or it is possible that the motor has overheated. This means, you would need a total complete motor repair or even a replacement.
  • Faulty switches – remote switch could be damaged or broken. If they are, you could do another test which is similar to hot wiring a vehicle.
    • set the engage lever on the free spool
    • disconnect the switch plug from the socket
    • Use a piece of wire and jump the two opposing pins. Winch would then start
    • Try jumping other pairs of the pins. If the motor starts, then, the problem could be your switch
  • Damaged brushed – brushes could be worn down and damaged. If this is the case, then, replace the part/s.

Motor Goes Only One Way

If your motor goes only one way, then there are several possible problems or issues:

  • Bad wiring – Check your wirings. This could be that the wiring is done wrongly or the cable is damaged or the wires are loose or bent. If this is the case, replace or repair the damaged wiring.
  • Faulty switch – If you are experiencing this problem, you would still be able to have limited function. This could be fixed by doing the same steps as mentioned above.
  • Solenoid troubles – you would hear clicking sounds when your switch is activated. Gently poke your contactor with screwdriver handle and shake it loose. This is only a temporary solution. If you want a more permanent solution, get a new contractor.

The Contractor Clicks but the Winch does not Function

  • Problems with the battery – check if your battery is fully charged. Check if all the terminals are cleaned and placed rightly.
  • Winch motor shorted – the problem could be due to the motor. Conduct a jumper cable test to check if the motor is working or just dirty.
  • Damaged contactor – The solenoids could be firing up and not connecting. This could be due to damaged or corrosion or overheating contactor.

Winch is Very Slow

  • Winch cable is spooled wrong – check if the cable is spooled correctly. If it is not, then spool it all out and then respool it back again. This time in the right direction.
  • Not receiving enough power – your battery probably has insufficient power. Change or replace the battery
  • Greasing problems -Clean the machine and apply the correct amount of correct grease.


This concludes our article, we hope that we were able to provide you sufficient and useful information about bench testing of winch.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.