Trailer Winching Tips

Trailer Winching Tips - Choose the right winch

In most trailer applications, you're dealing with a rolling load rather than pulling a dead weight. It is often said that one can probably push your vehicle but most can't lift it. Therefore, you need to size the winch to the rolling load - see chart.

Then you should select those winch features that you find most beneficial and that allow you to load the trailer safely by yourself. Superwinch has combined the experience of manufacturing over 2 million winches with feedback from racers and collectors alike over the past 30 years.

Install it properly

First choose an installation site accessible to you. Align an unobstructed path to the car that you are loading. Prevent any metal-to-metal contact with the wire rope. Mount the winch close enough to the trailer's front to pull the vehicle completely on. If it's mounted under something, such as a toolbox, leave enough space to access the winch.

Consider a pulley block

With a hook for mounting and a pulley for the wire rope, a pulley block lets you offset the winch but retain a straight shot. A pulley block can also be used to nearly double the winch's capacity by simply attaching the pulley block's hook directly to the load and the winch's hook to a sturdy mount near the winch.

Wire it right

A trailer wiring kit, like the kind available from Superwinch, makes it easy to get power for the winch from the tow vehicle's battery. To maintain electrical performance from the battery to the winch, we recommend dropping 3 wire sizes for every doubling of the length of the standard wire harness. Example: No. 6 to No. 3 or 2 gauge.

A quick disconnect plug for the truck comes prewired with a negative lead. Simply install the special terminal to the positive side of the quick disconnect and position the plug at the rear of the truck, perhaps under the bumper. If your tow vehicle isn't equipped with a towing package that includes a dual wire ground setup, Superwinch recommends installing the negative battery terminal strap provided with their winches. Take care that your wiring has fully secured leads which are clear of hot or moving parts.

Know your rolling weight

For safe and sure loading, Superwinch recommends following the car and trailer load chart below. Find the column that matches your percentage of slope or grade. Determine the slope by dividing the amount of your ramp's rise by the ramp's length. Match the slope with the nearest weight of your car, always rounding up, and locate the corresponding winch Rated Line Pull (RLP)*. This guide is recommended for average vehicle rolling loads. Some applications may require larger winches than indicated.

Accessorize for safety

Maximizing winch safety and performance is as simple as attaching the proper accessories. Superwinch offers roller fairleads, recovery straps, tie downs, gloves, and many more accessories designed for your special needs.

Car Trailers/Rolling Weight

Rated Line Pull (RLP) Grade*
10% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
1,000 lb. 5,025 3,401 2,155 1,664 1,422 1,285
1,500 lb. 7,538 5,102 3,233 2,496 2,134 1,928
2,000 lb. 10,050 6,803 6,347 2,816 2,407 2,175
2,500 lb. 12,563 8,503 5,388 4,160 3,556 3,213
3,500 lb. 17,588 11,905 7,543 5,824 4,979 4,499
4,500 lb. 22,613 15,306 9,698 7,488 6,401 5,784
6,000 lb. 30,151 20,408 12,931 9,983 8,535 7,712
9,000 lb. 45,226 30,612 19,397 14,975 12,802 11,568

* A 10% grade is a rise of one foot in ten feet. * Winches are not intended as a load securing device.

All ratings are based on the first layer of wire rope on the drum. You could experience a loss of up to 13% pulling capacity per layer of wire rope(see example below).
Example of S4500 and the effect of each layer on Rated Line Pull (RLP) and rolling loads.

Car Trailers/Rolling Weight

S4500 RLP 10% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
1st Layer 4500 22613 15306 9698 7488 6401 5784
2nd Layer 3808 19134 12951 8206 6336 5416 4894
3rd Layer 3300 16583 11224 7112 5491 4694 4242
4th Layer 2912 14632 9904 6275 4845 4142 3743
5th Layer 2605 13092 8861 5615 4335 3706 3349
6th Layer 2357 11845 8017 5080 3922 3353 3030
7th layer 2152 10815 7320 4638 3581 3061 2766