How to Use a Winch Properly [Step By Step]


You may have faced the situation where your vehicle got stuck in a muddy path or a snow trail during a trip. It is an embarrassing moment for you.

how to use a winch properlyImagine you are stuck with your vehicle, you called an emergency number and a tow truck with a winch came to your rescue. They saved you that time.

Did it ever come across your mind what would have happened if your mobile’s battery was dead or you were in a very remote area, there was no mobile network and you couldn’t call the emergency number?

It is quite simple, your vehicle would have been stuck for a long time. If such a situation ever occurred to you again, don’t you think that you should bring your own winch next time you go on such a trip? I am sure that you will agree with me here.

But owning a winch won’t solve the problem, you have to know how to use a winch properly.

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We All Need Some Basic Training

This is where my guide can help beginners like you. A graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering does not mean that he knows how to repair electrical devices. Every fresh graduate needs some guidelines or training before they can start practical work. Similarly, owning a winch does not mean that you can use it without any training. Winching can be very dangerous if the proper instructions and precautions are not followed. It can damage the winching equipment as well.

Safety First

Your first priority is to protect people around you. A winch which has not been set up properly will surely fail to operate. Always put on gloves and assign someone near the controls of the winch. You do not want a snapped line to hit someone in the face and send him to the hospital!

Very few people I know have an idea on how to use a winch properly. I have many friends who have had very nasty accidents because they failed to follow basic safety precautions.

Using a Winch Step by Step

how to use a winch properlyIf you look at the internet then you will come across thousands of ebooks, tutorials and blogs which talk about how to use a winch properly. What most of them fail to mention is that most of the winching accidents occur due to ignorance of the user. They may know the basics but fail to implement them at the right time.

I have compiled all my tips and hints below on the proper methods of using a winch. So, let’s go there and have a look!

Primary Steps

  • First, put on your gloves. It can save your hands!
  • Fasten the remote of the winch to the pole.
  • Loosen the clutch to bring out the wire to your preferred angle.
  • For long poles, 90-degree angle with the vehicle is recommended.
  • To free your vehicle, it is very important to choose the correct anchor point. If there is a tree nearby, you can use it as an anchor.
  • Other vehicles can also be used as well as tires or logs buried underneath the surface.
  • Now disengage the clutch and bring the winch line as close as possible to the anchor point. Be wary of any natural obstacles like rocks or other parts of Mother Nature which can get stuck with the rope.
  • Use a chain to wrap around the anchor at the lower part. Do not tighten it too much because you will never get your job done this way.
  • Now, re-engage the clutch to the winch and slowly wind it back until you experience some tension.
  • Tell everyone around you to go back as far as possible to avoid any untoward incidents.

The Final Steps

If you have come across this far, your work is 90% done. Have patience for a few minutes and your vehicle will be out in no time!
We recommend that you tell one of your friends to enter the vehicle and start the engine. If it is not possible then skip this step.

  • Turn on the remote control and start to pull the cable back towards the winch.
  • Continue until the vehicle is above a smooth surface.
  • If you see by now that the vehicle can move on its own, turn off the remote.
  • Apply the emergency brake of the vehicle (if there is a driver in the vehicle) and bring the cable back by using a bit of tension.
  • Make sure that the cable line does not get entangled with anything.

Congratulations, you are ready to continue your journey!


I hope that this guide has helped you to learn how to use a winch properly. Before going on your next adventure, make sure that you follow the steps mentioned in the guide to stay safe. Happy adventures!


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