Last Updated on June 20, 2021
Trailers are really useful for your car and even more helpful when you have to drive through sand, snow, water or mud. This is why installing a winch on the trailer becomes essential in case of emergencies where your vehicle may fail while driving back onto it.
Basically, a winch comes in handy to aid your car, regardless of whether or not the battery is running, onto the trailer. However, there is one specific challenge for beginners buying the winch. This is the challenge of how to do the mounting yourself without messing anything in the process.
How to Install a Winch on a Trailer
We have to admit that the installation is not as simple as a 20-minute DIY task. Nevertheless, we cannot discard the fact that regardless of how long it takes, you don’t need a mechanic to make it a success.
Besides, you have two options for procedures. The task will only require you to use the winch with the first choice, without any other accessories to go with. It is cheaper and convenient when you only need it occasionally.
However, if using a winch will be consistent for you, the second option is better. In any case, with the winch battery in place, you do not have to worry about the car battery running out when using the winch.
So, here are proven guides that you can rely on for your winch installation:
You will need the following items:
- The box containing the winch items
- A drill
- An Allen wrench/ a ratchet
- A marker pen
Step 1: Purchasing the Winch
If you don’t already have the winch with you, ensure that you check the weight limit that the winch accommodates before making the purchase. If possible, get one that can handle more than the weight of your car, just in case of anything.
If you want to buy a new winch, then check our reviews of different kinds of winches:
- Car trailer/hauler winches review
- Medium/heavy duty truck winches review
- Good quality budget winches review
- Small winches review
Step 2: Unboxing the Winch
The winch comes in a hard carton box that protects it from elements and other sources of damage.
Anyway, other than the winch, you should be able to see the winch cables, usually red and very strong at that. Other than the cables, you can decide on an additional battery cost, but this is voluntary.
Step 3: Trace the Central Point of the Trailer
Look for the place in the trailer that seems central, in between the two width edges. If possible, locate a point at the front of the trailer, which will be most suitable for the winch and its performance.
Just to be sure, you can use a tape measure to get the exact measurements for your winch point.
You will get a metal sheet whose outline is just the same as the bottom of the winch in the winch box. Since it is lighter and easier to handle, place it at the location that you have marked as central.
Like the winch, this metal sheet will have holes at strategic points, representing the winch’s installation points. Using a conspicuous marker pen, mark these holes as they correspond to the trailer, making the marks on the trailer.
Step 4: Drill Holes on the Sitting Position
Now you can drill the respective holes onto the trailer, which is a step closer to the installation.
Step 5: Mount the Winch
Finally, you can lift the winch onto the trailer and into the position you identified and created for it. See the bolts that came with the winch? Now it is time to put them to work.
So, get off the trailer and under it, with your front side facing the trailer’s bottom side. Ooh, remember to take the bolts and the washers with you. Aim for the drill’s protrusions through the holes. Please start with the washers, then insert the bolts after them.
You can use an Allen wrench or a ratchet to tighten the bolts to ensure that the winch is securely set.
Step 6: (Optional) Drill the Cable Hole
If you intend to use the car battery or the trailer battery, you should drill an extra hole in the trailer. Here, you will pass the cables and onto the external battery.
However, this is not necessary if you want to use the battery that comes with the winch.
Below is the option you have if you want to install the winch and its battery and other components in a safer box.
I honestly did not know about this method, but watching it on YouTube and trying it out proved even more worthwhile. So, let’s get down to the steps that you will follow;
Step 1: Purchase Winch Accessories
Other than the winch, purchase a hard winch box and a winch plate, which make the mountain and maintenance even easier. And don’t forget to include the winch battery, making it independent; you don’t have to rely on the car or trailer battery.
Put the winch, the cables, and the battery all in the box arranged to win a strategic way to prevent accidents.
Step 2: Mount the Winch Plate
Mount the winch plate at the front of the trailer, at a central point. Drill holes into the trailer, and you will have to do the same with the winch plate if you need more holes present.
Using bolts, tighten the winch plate onto the trailer, and reinforce it with a ratchet,
Step 3: Attach the Winch
Now you can sit the winch box on the winch plate and ultimately to the trailer. They will align with the holes on the plate. If you are not sure, you can bring the box to the plate. Mark the points aligning to the holes on the plate, then go ahead and drill the box.
You can then confidently carry out the drilling, but don’t go as deep as affecting the components in the box. If you do not trust yourself with this, you can remove the components first, drill, and then have them back.
Once done, bring the winch box to the plate, and start the mounting job.
Again, make use of bolts to attach the box to the holes drilled and available on the winch plate. Use the ratchet to tighten the bolts, ensuring the safety of the winch on the trailer.
Step 4: Charging the Battery
As with all batteries, the winch battery will require occasional charging. You can use the car battery or even the trailer battery to charge the winch battery.
However, there is a better option for your charging solution:
You can purchase a solar panel to go with the box, which you can fix on the box and connect to the battery for recharging. Then, every time you are in the light, the battery will be continuously charging.
Step 5: You Can Finally Rely on the Winch
Finally, you can drive stress-free, regardless of the road condition. As long as the winch is securely held onto your trailer, moving the car from the deepest snow or mud will be a walk in the park.
Let’s watch a video on installing a winch on a trailer!
A winch on the back of your trailer feels awesome and what better when you have it already installed? You no longer need to worry about driving in adverse conditions with a clear-set backup plan.
Ready for an adventure through the countryside where there are scenic views during all seasons of the year? Here we go!
I’m Daniel Galbreath, founder of OffRoadersWorld.
I spend my spare time writing on this website, OffRoaders World. I share my thoughts and reviews on different types of gears, share tips sometimes. This website is specially created and regularly updated basically to help other folks like me when I started to solve the various problems they face, specially when they go off-roading.