Can You Mount A Winch On Your (ATV-UTV)

Can You Mount A Winch On Your (ATV-UTV)

If you own an ATV or UTV, a winch is an essential accessory you should have because you never know when you’ll need it.

Your vehicle could end up stuck on difficult terrain, such as in thick mud, and if that happens you’ll wish you had a winch to help you out of the sticky situation. 

How does a winch work?

A winch exerts pressure that pulls one object towards another with the use of cables or ropes. So, when your ATV/UTV gets stuck in the mud, you can use your winch to help you by attaching the cable from the winch to an object, such as a tree.

In this way, you can pull your ATV/UTV back to safety.

If you like, you can purchase a winch kit online but be prepared to pay between $100 and $200, and this will still require you to install the winch onto your ATV/UTV.

Instead of spending money by taking your winch and vehicle to a service center, you can mount a winch on your vehicle yourself.

Different Uses For ATV/UTV Winch

Using UTV Winch

A winch is a valuable item to own if you regularly drive off road.

Besides helping you get out of sticky situations where your ATV/UTV has become stuck, you can also use your winch to pull objects, such as another ATV/UTV.

So, if your friend’s ATV gets stuck in the mud during one of your off-road adventures, you can use your winch to pull him or her out of the situation.

How To Mount A Winch On Your ATV/UTV 

One of the most important things to bear in mind is that you can’t just simply attach a winch to your ATV or UTV.

You have to follow the correct steps and have the right tools at your disposal.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Before you start, make sure you have the right tools handy.

You’ll need a ratchet, voltage meter, screwdriver, file, drill, and a wrench.

Here’s how to install a winch onto your ATV/UTV.

Purchase A Mount Plate

Winch Mounting Plate

First things first, you’ll need to purchase a mount plate on your vehicle because many ATVs or UTVs don’t have a place on their frame where you can attach a winch directly.

An alternative to a mount plate is a winch-ready bumper.

Things can feel a bit confusing because there are many types of mounting plates.

To make things easier, bear in mind you have to choose a plate based on the following factors:

  • The make and model of the ATV/UTV that you have.
  • The line pull rating of the winch you want to use. This refers to how much force the winch can pull.
  • A plate that’s strong enough to handle the pressure you’ll put on it.

The good news is that your mounting plate and winch will come with manufacturer’s instructions to follow so that you can attach the winch easily.

Remove The Plastic Fascia

You might have to make some changes to the front of your ATV if this is the first time you’re attaching a winch to it.

For example, you might have to remove the plastic fascia on the bumper of the ATV so that your winch can be installed.

It’s worth bearing in mind that every winch system will be different in that it will have different methods required for installing it.

Always check how it will attach to your ATV before you purchase it so that you save yourself problems down the line!

Attach The Plate To The ATV

Attaching Plate On ATV

Attach the plate to your ATV by bolting the plate securely in place.

Then, mount the winch onto the plate and secure it.

Although the instructions pertaining to your specific ATV/UTV might be different, you’ll likely need to first attach the roller fairlead to the mounting bracket, and then attach the mounting bracket to the vehicle.

Note: If you have winch-ready bumper, you just have to attach the bumper and you’re done. It’s much easier to install than if you have to install a winch mount. It also provides you with easier access to the winch if your ATV/UTV is covered in mud when you’re out because you won’t be able to see it.

Clear The Winch Line Path

Make sure that the winch line has a clear path with nothing in its way.

To be sure this is the case, you need to disengage the gear train and pull the line so that it’s a few feet long.

However, make sure you don’t forget to engage it again.

Install The Winch Contactor

Find a place for your winch’s contactor.

Winch systems have a contactor and this is important because it is the central wiring point for the winch.

The contactor basically powers up the winch.

Some people will place their contactors underneath the driver’s seat in their car and this is a good idea because it makes it easy to access when you need it.

You have to run the wires from the winch all the way to the contact points that are located on your contactor.

Your drill and file can come in handy here so that you can reach the correct points.

Attach The Winch Control Switches

The switches should ideally be placed near your steering wheel since many winches on the market make use of switches that connect the winch to the contractor and ATV’s ignition.

However, bear in mind that if you’re connecting your winch to the ATV’s ignition, you’ll only be able to use the winch when your ATV is on.

Take the voltage meter and use it to find a hot lead on your ignition as this is the lead you need to use to connect your winch switch, as How Stuff Works explains.

The other switch wire will need to be connected to the contactor.

Have you got your switched wire connected and in place?

Now you can connect the winch to the battery.

Take the battery cover off and disconnect the battery. You’re all set to start using your winch!

How Much Weight Can You Pull With Your ATV?

ATV Pulling Trailer With Wood

A winch has a line strength and torque that will determine the amount of weight that the winch will be able to pull.

Generally, though, an ATV that has a powerful motor will be able to pull around 1,500 pounds, but bear in mind that tends to be on flat ground so it’ll likely pull less than that on difficult terrain.

When purchasing a winch, make sure you choose one that will be able to handle your ATV/UTV.

If your ATV has an engine that’s no more than 400cc, a winch that can handle weights between 2000 and 2500 pounds will be suitable.

If you have a larger ATV, then you’ll need a winch that can handle 3,000 to 3,500 pounds.

Related Questions

What ropes or cables do winches use?

Winches usually have steel cables or synthetic ropes.

While rope is durable, it does wear away faster than steel cable.

However, when using a steel cable, always wear gloves because this cable can splinter even though it’s durable.

How long will your winch work?

You can use the winch for about five minutes to about 30 minutes with light, intermittent use.

Bear in mind that a winch will draw a lot of power from your ATV battery.

These batteries tend to be of low capacity, so always make sure they’re fully charged.


If you regularly have off-road adventures with your ATV/UTV during which you like to blow off steam, it’s a must to invest in a winch.

Luckily, mounting a winch to your ATV/UTV is not a difficult process.

Even if you’re not a DIY person, you can easily set up your own winch at home. 

In this article, we’ve outlined how to do it step by step so that you can pull yourself out of tricky situations when they arise without a hassle.

We’ve also provided you with extra tips so that you know more about the whole process. 

Doing it yourself will save you money while ensuring that stress doesn’t make an appearance during fun times with your ATV/UTV.

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