Read This Before You Buy a Used Winch

A winch is a tool that could save you from dire situation of your vehicle getting stuck. Aside from it being able to recover vehicles, it could also be used as a utility. As winches provide extraordinary power to be able to pull heavy things and is something that is considered as an investment, it could be very expensive for some. Though this is the case, then you must have thought of buying a cheaper price by choosing a used winch. This could save you more only if you have the proper knowledge on what factors you should consider when choosing a winch. Hence, in this article, we shall provide you a guide about buying a used winch.

Primary Advice to Buy a Used Winch

When you have decided to buy a used winch, the first thing that you would need to know is what you are looking for. What type of winch you would want to have or do you want to have a winch that comes with series wound motor winch or would you rather to have a winch with a permanent magnet motor? Would you want a winch with spear gear or worm gear or planetary gear?

Another important thing to do is to determine how you are going to use the winch and how much capacity you would need. Another thing you would need to take into consideration is the mounting options.

Keep in mind that there are numerous different types of winches and each and every type has different purpose. There are some that are specifically created for off-road or for boats while some are portable and some are not, etc. If you wish to have a more detailed information about types of winches, check this article.

You should choose a winch that would best suit your needs and purposes. Check the motor as the permanent magnet motor and the series wound motor have their own pros and their own cons.

A permanent magnet motor provides a higher amount of torque at a low speed. Though that may seem great, it also suffers some performance issues due to aging. In other words, the longer the motor’s life is the lesser its effectivity is.

As for the series wound motor, it has quite lower torque and is low speed. This means it could be used perfectly for high power applications.

As for the gear, you will have to keep in mind that the cheaper the gear is such as the spur, worm and planetary, the lower the torque application is. Hence, if you are going to pull trucks, it is recommended that you get a winch with a more expensive gear.

For the pulling capacity, you would have to choose one that would depend on the purpose of the winch. If you are going to use the winch for pulling heavy machineries, choose one that comes with at least 1000 lbs capacity. ATV/UTV winches have about 4500 to 2500 lbs.

There are also multiple mounting options for winches. There are about four options for mounting it permanently on your vehicle.

Inspect the Winch from Top to Bottom

Another important thing that you would need to do is inspect the overall condition of the winch that you are planning to purchase. Take your time, be patient and do not hurry. If the winch is painted, check if the paint is rusty or not. Check the condition of the winch cable. Ensure that the cable is original and check how old it is. Is it a synthetic rope? then, check if there are any tears or frays. Keep in mind that replacement of the cable could cost a lot especially if it is synthetic type of rope.

If the cable is not in good condition, this could be dangerous as it could snap. If the winch comes with synthetic rope, check for sun fading, cuts and knots. Look for a fairlead and inspect if there are tears and wear.

Inspect also the condition of the controller for any indications of excessive wear or damage. This will also give you a bird’s eye view of how the previous owner has taken care of the winch.

Next, do a test by bringing a set of jumper cables or 12-volt battery and power leads to verify if the winch is working.

Check out the housing, wiring and solenoid packs. If there are any crimps found in the wiring. This could be an indication that it could potentially break. Inspect the hot spots as well. Check the cooling fans, clutch and manual brake.


  • Determine what you are looking for
  • Consider the types of winch
  • Determine what type of motor and gear you would want
  • Check the winch capacity
  • Consider winch mounting options
  • Inspect winch A to Z
  • Inspect the painting of the winch
  • Check the winch rope for fraying, tears, cuts and knots
  • Check the fairlead
  • Inspect the winch controllers
  • Take help of a jumper cable to ensure the winch works
  • Inspect solenoid packs and wiring
  • Check the cooling fans

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