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How to Choose an ATV Winch

The excitement of driving your ATV on challenging terrain can be short-lived when you realize that you have driven into a muddy hole and cannot get out. Being stuck is frustrating and embarrassing. This is when you need an ATV winch to save the day.

Winches work by moving an object with the least resistance. When stuck, tie the cable from your winch to an immovable object (trees or boulders work well). When you turn on the winch motor, your ATV is moved toward the anchoring object, which pulls you out. Winches are also helpful for hauling objects or getting other riders unstuck.

Types of Winches 

Although there are many types available for off-road vehicles, electric winches are best for ATVs. Their motor draws power from the vehicle battery, though they differ depending on their gear trains. There are worm-type, which turns slowly and puts off less heat, and there are planetary, which turns fast, thus generating more heat. Though slower, the worm gear train is more powerful. 

Considering gear train is important, but also be mindful of the line capacity. What's line capacity? The total weight the winch can pull safely, which is indicated in pounds. Some winches allow for synthetic rope, and others require steel cable. There are winches capable of utilizing both. Planetary gears cannot use synthetic rope because of how much eat they put off, but steel cables are prone to snapping, which can cause serious injury.

Choose a Winch

Your main considerations should regard line capacity and vehicle weight. Gross weight must be calculated; what will it weight with you, with passengers, when you've fitted it with gear. Multiply gross weight by at least 1.5 to determine line capacity required. This accounts for resistance created by suction and depth. You might even choose a higher multiplier if you frequently plan to drive in marshy and muddy areas.

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