ATV, Side-by-Side & UTV Winches
Whether you use your ATV for off-road entertainment or as a workhorse around the farm, the addition of an ATV winch to your vehicle can be extremely useful. Understanding how to choose the correct system for your ATV will ensure confidence in your purchase.
What are the uses of an ATV winching system?
Winching systems can serve a variety of uses. Common uses in the working environment include raising and lowering ATV accessories, such as snow plow blades, or rescuing livestock and machinery from the muck and mire often found in the field. Leisure time uses might include adding the ability to safely climb steeper inclines or loading equipment onto trailers.
How does an ATV winching system work?
Winching systems work by using a rotating spindle. As the axle is rotated, the cable extends or retracts depending upon the direction of rotation. By mounting the system to an ATV, a firmly weighted surface can be provided to further enhance the system's center of gravity and pulling ability by setting the brake. This allows the operator to pull or drag heavy items back towards the system's mounting point as the line is retracted. Alternatively, the winch rope can be attached to a solid surface, such as a tree trunk or stone outcropping, and then retracted, thus using the system's motor to pull the vehicle on which it is mounted, towards the secured end of the rope.
What kinds of ATV winches are available?
Winching systems for ATV use come in a variety of sizes and styles to serve different purposes. Light-duty hand-cranked styles, which usually feature synthetic or wire rope, are suitable for tasks such as dragging small loads across short distances or assisting with loading light equipment into trailers. Heavier, automatic types, which utilize electric permanent magnet motors and braided steel cables, are capable of pulling much heavier loads and are commonly equipped with accessories that make their use easier and safer. Some of the common manufacturer names include Polaris, Kolpin, and SuperWinch.
How do you choose an ATV winching system?
While all winches serve the same basic functions, there are many differences in play that can totally alter your experience and how useful a given system will be in your situation. It is vital to understand how these differences affect your choices.
- Line pull: Choose a winch size that is appropriate for the tasks you intend to do with it. A light-duty system is not appropriate for extracting a mud truck from a rut, but a heavy-duty tool might be too much power for lighter applications.
- Winch type: Hand-cranked winches are fine for short distance, lightweight tasks, but an electric winch with a planetary gear train and remote control can provide a better user experience for those trying to drag heavy objects for longer distances.
- Intended use: While it's impossible to know ahead of time every use your winch might ever have, most buyers have some idea of what they intend to do with the tool so they can buy a system that fits their needs.
- Cable length and type: For lighter applications, a short synthetic rope may be perfectly fine, but heavier applications require the added strength and safety of chain or braided steel cable.
- Accessories: Remote controls, rocker switches, quick connectors, roller fairleads, and other add-ons make your system more useful and easier to operate, thus adding convinience and an extra measure of safety.