Warn Winch Solenoid Just Clicks – What Does that Mean?

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Last Updated on June 26, 2022

A winch is one of the tools you use for recovery purposes, rescue, or utility work. It is an essential piece of equipment among many, as it allows you to move heavy loads. It consists of a number of electrical components such as the solenoid, power source, tow truck winch, and the power cords. Your winch motor, drum and solenoid are the mentionable ones.

You are supposed to be familiar with the duty of your winch motor and drum, especially if you own a winch. Basically, the motor of your winch gives power for pulling and your winch drum does the rest. Without a winch drum, it is not possible to pull or lift. Now, what do your warn winch solenoid actually do? I guess most of you are ignorant about this.

Here, I will be discussing everything about your warn winch solenoid. So, give my article a quick check if you are looking for the same thing.

Warn Winch Solenoid Just Clicks - What Does that Mean

What is Actually the Warn Winch Solenoid?

Well, the solenoid of a winch is nothing but an electromagnetic switch. You may wonder what is the difference between this switch and your winch switch. Basically, the duty of a solenoid is passing an adequate current amount for activating the motor of your winch. It also has control over the flow of current. That’s how your solenoid protects your winch from damage due to an overflow of current.

How many solenoids there are in a winch depends on the winch model actually. Usually, there are four solenoids you will find in your winch. If any of these four solenoids become faulty, then there is a possibility of damaging your winch.

The duty of your winch switch is to send current to the winch solenoid from the battery. Then the solenoids redirect the current to your winch motor. After that, the motor turns the drum using this current. For turning your winch motor, there are devoted solenoids. 

In the reputed winches in the market, you will find that there are two solenoids used for forward winching and another two are for reverse winching.

These solenoids are used to make clicking sounds and thus you can understand that they are working. However, it may happen that your winch drum isn’t performing well even after making the clicking sounds.

Also Read: Common Warn Winch Problems (With Solutions)

Warn Winch Solenoid Just Clicks

You will find some little components within every solenoid. The name of these components are contacts. For delivering current to your winch motor, the solenoid is used to bump the contacts simultaneously. These bumping of contacts are the reason behind producing these clicking sounds.

However, if you can hear this clicking sound and still your winch motor is not working, then you can look for the following problem:

Wiring Problem: 

If the winch wiring has been damaged, then the current delivering capacity of a solenoid to the motor will be compromised.

Bad Connection:

It can happen that due to the bad or improper connection among the motor or solenoid, your winch solenoid will not be able to deliver the exact amount of current to your winch motor.

Pitted or Dirty Contacts:

If the contacts become pitted or dirty, then there is a possibility that your contacts will lose the ability to deliver the current.

How To Check Warn Winch Solenoids


First, give all connections from your winch solenoid to motor a quick check. Look for the damages in wiring. Also, don’t forget to clean all the terminals and connections.


If you find any wiring problems, then you need to repair or replace them. Again, you should clean the wire using a brush if it gets corroded. In case of any loose connection, you should revise it.


Now, you need to unscrew your winch solenoid cover. For this, you have to disconnect the solenoid cable first. Also, don’t forget to check whether the connections are secured or not.


If you find all the connections are stable, then you can try switching your winch again. Check if you find the power from the motor with the help of a voltmeter. According to the standard reading, you should find that your voltmeter is showing 12 Volts.


However, if you don’t find any power to your winch motor, then give all connections to solenoids a quick check. As I said there could be four solenoids, you have to check all the solenoids.


Now, you need to check your motor again. While activation, you should find 12 Volts reading in all motor terminals.


In this step, if you still find it is not working, then there is a possibility that your motor has broken. Obviously, you will hear clicking sounds if the solenoids are fine. This means, there is nothing wrong with the connections and the solenoids.

If the problem is with the motor, you are allowed to repair it. In this case, you can take help from a professional. 

How To Bypass Warn Winch Solenoids

Following the below-mentioned steps, you will be able to perform both testing and bypassing the motor of your warn winch:


First, you need to get your winch in the free spool position.


Then, you have to disconnect your battery’s positive connection. Make sure that you are not disconnecting the ground connection. 


Now, you will find three cables on your winch motor posts. You should disconnect all of them. Also, don’t forget to label these cables as you can become confused while reconnecting these cables later. Labeling the cables will make it easy to reconnect them.


You are supposed to find three different labels on your winch motor posts. The labels will be: “A”, “F1” and “F2”. You need to make a connection between the “A” and the “F1” post using a jumper wire. After that, you should connect the “F2” labels to the battery. Keep in mind that your winch motor needs to be turned following one direction.


In the last step, you need to connect the “A” to the “F2”. Then connect the battery to “F1”. By doing this, you are supposed to find the motor turning in the opposite direction.

After following all the above-mentioned steps, you will be able to see if there is any problem with your winch motor or not.

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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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