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Winch: How It Is Made & How It Works


What is a Winch?

A winch is a device used to move heavy items. They work by either pulling or letting out rope or cable or adjusting the tension of the rope. Winches are highly used for vehicle recovery, lifting elevators, snowboarding and raising sails.

How is Winch Made?

how is winch made infographic

A winch is made up of a number of different components, each with one purpose to help in a broader goal.

The main components are:

A CABLE: Probably a steel wire or synthetic cable, which will be covered around a drum to avoid entanglement. The wire/cable can be from 40 to 100 ft in length.

A DRUM: A drum is round-shaped and allows the cable to be nicely twisted around it. A spool within the winch allows the drum to turn in a round motion, winding the wire/cable in or out.

A Motor: The motor powers the drum to turn such that it can pull in and cover the cable around itself. While all winches don’t have a motor, most vehicle winches are electric and have a motor unit to accelerate things up significantly. There are two types of motor: series wound motor & permanent magnet motor.

A GEAR TRAIN: This part takes the energy from the motor and then converts it into pulling power, That provides the winch the capability to pull in any kind of heavy material. Gear train has three types: Planetary gear, Worm gear and spur gear.
These pieces come together to help make the winch work perfectly. The cable wire is pulled out and mounted on the object you want to pull.

You should note that winches come with fixed load capacity. And depending on the weight of the vehicle, you will have to find a winch that fits with your vehicles.

Some winches can only manage up to 500 pounds, but others can handle a lot more than that. Basic winches can be purchased from online for only about $100. Obviously, it all depends on how much durable the winch is, how much weight it has and what you would be using it for. You can check our winch reviews to get a better idea on this.

How Does Winch Work?

Mechanics of the Winch

A winch can be used in various ways, but they are mainly used on the front side bumper of off-road vehicles such as four-wheel-drive trucks and SUVs. They could also be found on trailers to help pulling the boats or ATVs. It really a motor-driven product which has a spool of cable wire or rope.

Some winches use a 12-volt motor to power them, while some use hydraulic fluid from power steering unit. Most of the time the latter is found in military applications. Their biggest downside is that the vehicle has to actually be running for the winch to work, while an electric winch will work as long as its battery has power. Once the winch is turning, it rotates the spool. Which either sends the winch wire cable in or out, with regards to the direction chosen.


The main reason you should have a winch on a vehicle is to aid in recovering it when the vehicle becomes stuck such as in mud or sand. The winch wire cable is spooled out of the winch then connected to another vehicle or something stable via a large clevis hook on the end of the cable.

The winch is then placed into gear using a switch on its body. Once the power is applied, the wire cable is pulled towards the vehicle and spooled onto the winch, effectively getting the vehicle unstuck.

We hope you’ve found what you’re looking for. If you still need to know anything more about winch, then don’t hesitate to ask us. We would be delighted to help you.

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