Vehicles that get stuck in the mud, sand or snow often need to be towed out of entrapment. Calling a tow truck can involve a long wait and a high fee just to get the trapped vehicle freed again. With a trailer hitch mounted winch, much of the hassle that is normally involved in freeing a trapped vehicle can be avoided. A trailer hitch winch that is attached to the back of a pickup truck or another vehicle built for heavy-duty hauling can pull the stuck vehicle so that it can be driven once again. These devices are particularly popular for people who do a lot of off-roading or live in areas where harsh weather conditions are the norm.
Superwinch 1145220 Terra 45 ATV & Utility Winch – Capable of hauling up to 4,500 pounds, this tow hitch winch itself weighs only 22 pounds and can be lifted and carried with little difficulty. The winch features a 1.6 HP permanent magnet motor for mechanical load holding that also includes a dynamic brake. Wide steel planetary gear helps ensure a securer hold. The winch’s 55 feet of steel wire is attached to a cam action freespooling clutch that is designed to be ergonomic. A thimble is included with the heavy-duty latched hook. A protected circuit breaker helps ensure a longer life.
WARN 89040 4000 Winch – Operating this winch is made easier and more efficient thanks to the three-stage planetary gear train. Functions can be performed even smoother with the remote control with cord and the mini rocker switch that is mounted on the handlebar. Better control while winching can be established with the mechanical spring brake. Vehicles weighing up to 4,000 pounds can be pulled to safety. One of the best attributes of this popular winch model is its light weight of only 8 pounds.
Superwinch 1510200 LP1000 Winch – Built for serious heavy-duty towing, this hitch winch can pull up to 10,000 pounds using a single line. Powder coating has been applied to the 4-way roller fairlead to help keep it protected. The winch can be powered safely with its rubber handheld remote. A free spooling lever action clutch enhances mechanical functioning. The 12 VDC/5.1 HP motor is weather sealed to prevent damage from the elements. Measuring 85 feet in length, the 3/8-inch thick steel wire rope has a heavy-duty latched hook on its end. The automatic and mechanical load holding braking system ensures better control.
Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch – A 9,500-pound load capacity enables this tow hitch winch to haul many types of vehicles. A cable measuring 93.5 feet in length and 5/16 of an inch in diameter is designed to not break easily under pressure. The winch comes with a 6.6 HP amphibious motor and 3-stage planetary gear system for easy operating. The 500AMP solenoid is waterproof to prevent damage from moisture and has an IP67 waterproof rating. No additional wires need to be purchased to install the winch.
Smittybilt 97510 x 20 Waterproof Winch – This model is largely considered to be among the best trailer mounted winches because of its reliability and 10,000-pound load capacity. Its dimensions measure 11.7 by 24.1 by 14.3 inches, which allows it to fit different sizes and styles of trucks. The 6.6 HP amphibious motor and 3-stage planetary gear system enable the winch to do its job proficiently every time. The state-of-the-art 500AMP solenoid is fully waterproof.
Superwinch 1130220 LT300ATV 12 VDC Winch – The line that is capable of pulling up to 3,000 pounds has made this winch hitch mount one of the most popular choices on the market. A roller fairlead and mounting plate are included as well. The low amperage permanent magnet motor has been sealed to give it better protection. Controlling the winch is made possible with the handheld remote and handlebar mounted rocker. The mechanical and dynamic brake further enhances control.
Superwinch 1331200 UT3000 12 VCD Winch – A rubber handheld remote control with a 12-foot long cord allows the operator to keep a safe distance from the winch when it is in use. The 1.2 HP motor and 40 feet of 3/16-inch thick wire rope allow the winch to pull up to 3,000 pounds. A mounting plate is included to simplify the process of hooking up the 4-way roller fairlead. To prevent damage from the elements, the solenoid and circuit breaker have been sealed. The planetary gear train is made of solid metal and comes with a freespooling clutch that allows easy pulling and turning with a 153:1 gear ratio.
Choosing the right trailer hitch winch will depend on several different factors such as the:
Hauling Capacity – A hitch mount winch may be capable of pulling vehicles that weigh up to 3,000 pounds or 10,000 pounds or more. Winches with higher weight capacities often have bigger motors, which may not fit on smaller trucks that are doing the towing.
Cable Thickness and Material – The cable should be thick enough to handle heavy-duty pulling but can usually be less than half an inch in diameter to do the job sufficiently. Cables made of steel are generally less expensive and designed to not break down easily. Synthetic cables are also available but tend to snap easier even though they are often thought to be safer.
Cable Length – Cable lengths vary but often range between 50 and 100 feet. There are also cables that extend farther to 150 feet.
Motor and Power Source – A winch with a motor that can generate 4.0 horsepower or more is considered to be a good choice. The motor should be checked regularly to make sure that it is still up to standard. Better winding speed is usually achieved with a winch that uses electricity, but this power source can also drain the battery faster. Hydraulic winches do not need to draw power from the vehicle’s engine and are advisable if driving through mud is done regularly.
A trailer mounted winch can be highly useful when other vehicles are stuck and unable to drive out themselves. These winches work well with most trucks that are built for towing.