How to Attach a Winch to A Trailer

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Last Updated on June 26, 2022

When it comes to using a winch, there’s a wide variety of purposes that you can achieve with it thankfully. You can use one for simply recovering from a hauling afterward stuck situation. Or perhaps simply keep it as the hosting equipment. 

Now whatever the cause of use, one thing that cannot be skipped, is attaching the winch to your trailer. And if that’s something you have no clue about, it’s high time you get it.

Today, let us help you discover a fairly simple process on how to attach a winch to a trailer.  

How to Attach a Winch to A Trailer the Right Way!

How to Attach a Winch to A Trailer – 7 Steps

  • Ensuring You Choose the Right Winch.
  • Determining Installation Spot.
  • Marking Mounting Plate’s Location.
  • Holes Drilling.
  • Mount Plate Attaching.
  • Drilling a Hole for Wire Housing.
  • Winch Mounting & Wiring.

Step 1: Start By Ensuring You Choose the Right Winch.

If you, by chance, go for installing the unfit winch to your trailer, it’ll be another pain, and trust us, you don’t want to deal with it.

Imagine discovering:

  • The winch is absolutely the wrong size that fails to fit. So, you cannot install it.
  • It did fit into but hardly can take the weight for lack of capacity. Meaning, you now need to detach it, which is another time-consuming process.

Both of these are very probable scenarios and can be avoided by one simple step. Make sure the choice of winch is right! 

So, pay attention to the winch before buying it, make sure it is designed for your vehicle, and go through its rated capacity. And once everything settles well with your trailer, get it for initializing the installation as now you have skipped all that stress.

Step 2: Deciding The Placement Spot After That

So, at this step, you should identify the center of the trailer front. And for that, you need to use a tape measure. The spot should be close to the trailer front, as much as possible. And then you basically mark that area. It shall act as your guideline for the installation.

Step 3: Making Marks Where the Mounting Plate Shall Go.

The next part will need you to know how to mount a winch on a trailer through the provided plate. But before you get into it, marking the plate’s installation spots is necessary. 

In some cases, there could be no mounting plate that was provided with the winch. Then you need to buy a mounting plate with a rating to withstand the weight capacity of the winch.  

Next, you want to place the mounting plate on the marked spot. Use a pencil or pen to simply trace along with the mounting plate’s border to have an outline. There shall be holes in the plate. You must mark them as well using the marker.

Step 4: Drilling Necessary Holes.

Now on the previously marked locations, go ahead and start drilling them. While drilling the holes, you want to line up all holes to each other in a proper manner.

Step 5: Attaching The Mounting Plate.

Now that the holes are ready, you can easily attach the trailer winch plate. The screws or bolts should be provided, use a ratchet to secure them. Again, the bolts should also align with other bolts, basically the same thing we talked about regarding holes.

Step 6: Then Go for Drilling Another Hole.

Next, we need some housing for the wires. The ones that would basically connect the winch with the trailer’s battery. And to do that, you need to drill another hole. Also, the winch kit usually includes rubber. 

Use it for wrapping around this hole you created. And finally, get the wires running through the hole. Make sure the winch connection to the battery happens without a problem.

Step 7: Mounting & Wiring the Winch.

Finally, the winch is all ready to get mounted on the plate. Some of you would prefer the flexibility of having it detachable. The hitch mounted winch plate comes with the facility of a removable winch mount for the trailer.

There’s a handle that accompanies it. And also, combine this setup with a 2-inch hitch combo bar. Now, to secure the winch, again use the ratchet and get those bolts tight enough. The positive wire goes to the positive post. Similarly, the negative post shall have the negative wire connected to it. And this makes the connection complete.

For Your Information – In some cases, you may discover the winch is not exactly in the middle. Using a D-ring attached pulley block can help here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can you ground a winch to the frame?

Yes, you can have the winch ground to the frame. However, having a good ground to the frame from the battery is also necessary. However, keep in mind, people usually avoid going for such a setup because a lot of vehicles lack a proper ground to frame. As a result, the tiny ground strap has a chance to fry up.

  1. What size winch should I get for my trailer?

You should go for a winch that comes with a capacity rating of 75% considering the total weight of the vehicle, motor, gear as well as fuel. There are a few other factors that help in deciding the exact size but as a general rule, this should apply.

Final Words

And that sums up the entire process of how to attach a winch to a trailer. Please mind the safety and proper knowledge regarding the installation. You definitely don’t want to try something you feel less confident about handling. 

If fixing such parts to trailers is a new thing to you, something you’ve never tried before, give the thing more time. Research a bit more if necessary. You can also take the help of video demonstrations, there are pretty good ones. 

And if the process seems almost handleable only then, go for it! Best of Luck!

More Winch Resources:

Adjusting Boat Trailer Winch Post

How to Choose Jeep Winches

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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