When you are off-roading, you expect that your vehicle won’t get stuck. However, sometimes that is exactly what happens. You can use a winch to get your car unstuck, but then will you be left with a dead car battery?
A winch can drain a vehicle’s battery if the owner isn’t prepared. To make sure everything runs smoothly, know how many amps the winch uses and how much the vehicle’s battery can handle. Make sure the battery is fully charged, and possibly get a second battery to help power the winch.
Keep reading for tips on how to make sure that a winch doesn’t drain your car’s battery.
What Is a Winch?
A winch is a device that you can attach to the front or back of your vehicle to help it get unstuck from snow, mud, sand, and more. It consists of a cable wire, the drum that the wire is wrapped around, a motor to power the drum, and the gear train. The gear train converts power from the motor to give the winch the power to pull the vehicle. (source)
Winch’s are usually seen on the front of trucks, Jeeps, or ATVs. Jeeps and Trucks have four-wheel drive and are built for activities like drifting, mudding, and other adventures.
However, even these tough cars can get stuck in sticky situations, and they need some extra help to get them out. Winches can help you get them out of a ditch or the mud so you can continue your off-roading adventures.
You may be wondering where the winch gets its power. It doesn’t come from the motor or gear train, the motor gets its power from your car battery.
- This is why many people worry about the battery dying from using a winch.
- This will be talked about more later, but essentially a winch won’t kill your battery as long as the two are compatible.
Sometimes, a winch can be too powerful for the battery, and it isn’t able to give the winch enough amps. It is very important to find a winch that works with your battery, instead of instantly draining it.
Make sure to charge your battery first and pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions on what battery can be used with the winch you purchased.
Can a Winch Kill My Battery?
It is not definite that a winch will kill your battery, but it can kill your battery if the amps are too much. Research to see how many amps the winch has, specifically the one you are looking to purchase. The amp draw depends on the line pull. First, figure out the line pull, and then you can calculate what the amp draw is.
The line pull depends on how much weight the winch is pulling, which is the weight of your vehicle. Usually, every winch has a chart that shows the amp draw and the line pull. There are several different types of winches. The most common electric winch is the 12-volt winch.
It may sound nice to have a high amp because it provides more power, but that also means that it will drain your battery much quicker. Try to find the winch with the highest pulling power and the lowest amp rate.
If the winch is connected to a car, you will need a 12-volt winch with at least 55 amps. The most common vehicles that use a winch are Jeeps and trucks.
Due to their four-wheel-drive capabilities, they are the cars that are most often driven in terrains that they can get stuck in. The front of the car can have a winch attached and the car battery can handle more amp power. (source)
- A winch can’t kill the car’s battery if it isn’t on. If the car and winch are both off, then it will not drain your battery.
- Many people worry that it will drain the battery when not being used, but it is just like a car.
- If the car is fully off, the battery isn’t being used.
- When you do use the winch, make sure your car is on.
- As long as your car is on, it will continue to charge the battery and supply the connected winch with power.
No matter what winch you have, the manufacturer of the winch you purchase will have recommendations on what battery you can and cannot use. Never use a battery that is recommended not to use. This will just increase the chances of the winch killing your battery, which is not what you want.
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Why Is My Winch Killing My Battery?
A winch is killing your battery because it is using the battery for its power, and it requires more power than your car’s battery can supply. The winch itself is nothing without the battery to power it. It uses battery power to pull your vehicles out of sticky situations. It is even more of a tough situation if your battery dies.
A winch is oftentimes more powerful than the battery and outpowers it. Over time, after so much winching, the battery runs out of power.
- A winch often kills your car’s battery because they aren’t compatible.
- Not every winch can work with every battery.
- If the amp draw is more than the battery can handle, it stands no chance.
- Before you purchase a winch, do your research to see what winches you can use with your car’s current battery.
Pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations as well. However, even if you buy the right winch for your car or ATV battery, there is a chance it can kill it. Here are some tips you can use to prevent that from happening:
To make sure the winch doesn’t kill your battery, buy a second battery. If the car has two batteries, you won’t have to worry about the batteries dying, since there is plenty of battery power to power normal car functions and a winch. Having two batteries is an especially good idea if you use your winch often. (source)
The winch could also be killing your battery due to outside weather conditions. If it is below zero, then your car battery already has enough trouble working.
The combination of extremely cold outside temperatures and the use of a winch are not the best and will easily kill your battery. You just have to be patient and give it lots of breaks to warm up and recharge.
How Long Will a Battery Last with a Winch?
A battery can last a good amount of time with a winch if you take the right precautions. Make sure the winch and battery are compatible and that the winch won’t use it all immediately. Also, check to see how much your battery is charged. A full battery will give the best performance. As long as the car is running, the battery should be charged.
To make sure the battery lasts for a long time, take breaks. Give the battery time to rest and cool down. Take 10-15 minute breaks between attempts to try and pull your vehicle out of its current situation.
In the best of conditions, the battery should last for a good 10 minutes. In most cases, this is plenty of time to get your vehicle unstuck from whatever situation it is in.
However, don’t pull it for 10 straight minutes. Stop pulling and give it a break every 20-30 seconds. If the car is not running, the battery should last for about 1-2 minutes. Whether it is stuck in snow or some mud, a winch should be able to get you out in no time. (source)
How Much Battery Does a Winch Use?
How much of the battery a winch uses depends on both the winch and battery. Each comes in different sizes and has different capacities. Each winch uses a certain amount of amps and each battery can handle a certain amount of amps. Before you purchase a winch, determine how much power it takes. Make sure to also research your car’s battery and how much it can handle.
Usually, it isn’t that the winch is taking too much power, but the battery isn’t giving enough power to the winch.
In the end, it all depends on the power of both your winch and your battery. The winch should not require more power than the battery can supply, or else it will not last long.
Make sure your battery is in good condition and stays that way. You can do this by not overpowering it and keeping the car running when you winch.
A winch is only useful as long as the car’s battery stays alive. Don’t buy a winch that isn’t compatible with your battery. Once you have the winch installed, you can go off-roading without worrying about your car getting stuck in the mud.
Here’s a video with examples of why you need a winch:
How Do I Use a Winch?
Using a winch is fairly simple, just follow these few steps. Most people find a nearby tree that is directly in front of their vehicle. Not just any tree will work. Find a large and sturdy tree that won’t break or uproot easily. If you choose a smaller, younger tree, it won’t be strong enough to sustain the pulling power of the winch.
Once the right tree is found, tie a strap around the tree. Pull out the wire from the winch and attach it to the strap. Once you are ready, turn on the winch and the drum will be powered on to pull the wire back in. As the wire is pulled back in towards the winch, it will pull your vehicle forward and out of where it got stuck.
The winch allows you to get your vehicle unstuck from mud, snow, and other terrains when you don’t have assistance from other people or cars.
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How to Install a Winch
Before installing a winch, you need to purchase the correct one. You need to choose a winch that is compatible with your car battery because you want the battery to have enough power to power the winch and your car at the same time.
Most winches will be a 12 volt, and this is the best kind to get because they work well with most batteries and have the most pulling power for the least amount of amps. Never hesitate to check with the manufacturer for how many amps the winch needs.
- Installing a winch doesn’t take too much time as long as you do it the right way.
- First, you have to connect the wires of your winch to the car battery.
- You may have multiple batteries in your car and aren’t sure which one to connect the winch to.
Always connect it to the cranking battery, no matter how many batteries you have. This is because the cranking battery will draw the most amps, therefore working the best with the winch. This will allow you to use the winch for as long as possible before draining the battery.
After connecting the wires, you then need to mount the winch onto the front of your car. There are four main bolts to help mount the winch, and you will find those four spots on the front of your car.
Most winches will be installed on the front of your car, but some will go underneath the front of your car or in the back of your car.
There will be a plate on the front or bottom to mount it to. Once mounted to your car you can run the wiring in if it isn’t already. Then you are all set to go. This process should take about an hour and a half, so make sure you take the time to install a winch at least a few hours before you go off-roading.