Beginner’s Guide to Using a Winch

No doubt about it, off-roading is fun. But it’s not so fun when you get stuck in the mud or a ditch and you can’t get out! That’s why a winch is absolutely mandatory equipment for off-roading adventures. If you’re new to winching, this article will help you get started.

Safety first … Safety last … Safety in-between … are you getting the message? Protecting yourself and ensuring the safety of others is paramount when using a winch. Don’t overload the winch beyond its capacity, set it improperly or use unreliable accessories—any one of these things, let alone combined, could easily lead to winch failure and potentially create a hazardous situation that could cause injury. When operating the winch, do not wear loose clothing or jewelry as they could get caught in the moving parts. Also, it’s important to use appropriate safety equipment. Wear ANSI approved safety goggles and heavy-duty leather work gloves.

Let’s move on to basic operation …

Attach the remote control/pendant control so it’s not at risk of getting pinched—consider from where you’ll operate the winch.

Roll out the hook. Note: don’t place your finger(s) through the hook but use the included strap (see pic above). Unwind a few feet of line so there’s enough slack to disconnect the hook from the anchor point.

Attach the winch to a secure anchor point as close to a straight line as possible from where your vehicle is stuck. Stay within the angle guidelines of the user manual for your winch. Try to secure the cable to a secure point like a tree, stump or large rock. If a natural anchor point is not available, you can utilize another vehicle.

Pull out the line and be aware of any obstacles in the path such as tree branches that could get tangled in the line.

Hook onto the object using a pulling point, tow strap or chain. Do not wrap the wire rope around the object and hook onto the wire rope itself as it can cause damage to the object being pulled and kink or fray the wire rope. Do not use recovery straps either as they can stretch and whip back toward the operator during winching.

Once secure, re-engage the clutch back at the winch itself and begin to retract the line until there is slight tension. Double-check the connections at the anchor point and make sure everyone is at a safe distance away from the winch line.


For added safety, throw a heavy blanket, towel or piece of carpet over the taut line six feet from the hook to help absorb the force released should the wire rope break.

Now you’re ready to start winching! Slowly retract the cable using the remote control. It’s best to have the engine running and the driver inside the vehicle being recovered—if possible, apply the gas and work with the winch to move the vehicle. Once the vehicle is on a stable surface and can be driven away on its own, you’ve successfully winched!

Allow some slack in the line and unhook the winch. Put on the emergency brake on the vehicle with the winch and apply slight tension as the cable spools—make sure the line does not become tangled during this process.

For complete installation and operation instructions as well as the full list of safety tips, be sure to consult the user manual for your particular winch. You’ll also find numerous helpful videos on YouTube.

Harbor Freight Tools carries the highly-rated Badland brand of winches. Models include:

5000 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake
This ATV/utility winch features single-stage planetary gear system for fast line speed, automatic load-holding brake, permanent magnet motor which draws less current (ideal for ATV use), 10 ft. handlebar control and 12 ft. ergonomic handheld remote control for easy operation even when alone!

9000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake
With a 9000-lb. towing capacity and automatic load-holding brake for safety, this winch will be the go-to for recovering your off-road vehicle or loading a boat. Other features included power in/out for positive load control, series-wound motor that stays cooler during long pulls and 12 ft. ergonomic handheld remote control.

Voted the “Best Deal in Winching” by Off Road Magazine

12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake
Recover a large vehicle, load your watercraft or haul timber with this heavy-duty winch boasting a 12,000 lb. towing capacity. In addition to the series-wound motor, three-stage planetary gear system and 12 ft. ergonomic remote control, this winch also features a cable tensioner to prevent tangling.

 

For the full line of Badland winches and accessories, be sure to visit your local Harbor Freight Tools store. Happy winching!

 

 

 

Source material:
liveoutdoors.com

12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake

12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake

The Badland 12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake makes it easy to recover a stuck vehicle, haul timber or load a boat. The series-wound motor stays cool while the 3-stage planetary gear system provides fast line speed. The winch also features an automatic load-holding brake for safety. It’s a must-have for your next off-road adventure or performing heavy-duty work around the home, farm or ranch.

Voted the “Best Deal in Winching” by Off Road magazine, customers give this Badland winch high marks:

Purchased this winch for a car hauler, wanted that extra pulling power to drag them on my hauler with or without wheels on the vehicle. No problem, it does just that. – Will, East TX

I went to an off road shop in Fort Worth, Texas. Asking about a winch … I was quoted $2800.00 for 9000lb winch installed. My rig cost $1000. I kept looking. Received a coupon from Harbor Freight and said what the hay?? I ask the salesperson at the store about satisfaction and was assured to with receipt if I wasn’t satisfied. I bought the 12000lb Badlands winch … I must say this is an awesome winch. I’ve told many people about the great capabilities of this awesome winch. BUY IT! ONE WRECKER BILL WOULD PAY THE COST. – Jeff, Ft. Worth, TX

I have had this on my 4runner for about three years now and mostly used it to move logs around for cutting. Until … a tree service managed to get their 24,000lb truck and 10,000lb trailer stuck in my front yard. After trying everything to get them out, I decided to see if I could use the winch. As funny as it looked to have a Toyota 4Runner pulling a giant truck and trailer out of the mud, I have to say that I, and everyone there was very impressed. This thing can pull … Great winch, great price. – Cetilim, Oregon

You can pick up the 12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake
item#60813

2500 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control

2500-lb-atv-winch

The Badland 2500 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control is a must-have for getting out of stuck places during off-roading adventures and can also be used for loading a boat, hauling game and more. A remote switch makes the winch easy to use.

Additional features include a single-stage planetary gear system for fast line speed, aircraft grade wire rope, automatic load holding break for maximum safety and a permanent magnet motor that draws less current, making it ideal for ATV use.

Customers give this winch high marks:

I bought this winch at a great price and installed it on a UTV. It was an easy install and works great. Very happy with purchase. – Jeff, Pink Hill, NC

My son’s 2wd ATV was stuck in rim-high sludge. My 4wd ATV wouldn’t pull it out alone. This winch did the job without a hitch. – Ranchhand, Fort Worth, TX

I purchased the winch to pull my pond boat into the bed of my truck … I’m able to load and unload my fully-loaded boat at a boat ramp with this winch, versus paying $400-600 for a trailer. – Jason, Jacksonville, NC

Installed the unit on my side-by, easy to install, great price, and nice to have the remote control. I’ve use it to clear trees from logging roads after storms and to drag game up terrain I can’t. – Oz, Ashville, AL

You can pick up the Badland 2500 Lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

2500 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control
item#61840

12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake

12000-lb-off-road-vehicle-electric-winch-with-automatic-load-holding-brakeRecover a stuck vehicle, haul timber or load a boat with Harbor Freight’s 12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake. The series-wound motor stays cool while the 3-stage planetary gear system provides fast line speed. Featuring an automatic load-holding brake for safety, this electric winch is a must-have for your next off-road adventure or work around the home, farm or ranch.

Here’s what customers are saying about this powerful winch:

I pulled all my big tractors on to the trailer with ease and it was fast. It was so good I bought another 12,000 pounder for my other trailer. – Dave H, North Texas

I have used it 3 times on trees when cutting to keep the tree from falling into power lines. They are oak’s and 16″ diameter leaning toward power lines and was able to pull them in the direction needed. It is mounted on my Long 360 tractor. Can’t beat the price. – Retired and still going, Davenport, NY

I move a lot of cars and have this winch on all of my trailers. I’ve been buying and using this model for several years now, have purchased a half dozen of them and love the product. For the price, I don’t think it can be beat and I’ve never had any problems. I added the wireless remote control and there is nothing easier to load a car even with flat tires or locked brakes … – Car Hauler Man, Madison, AL

You can pick up the 12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake
item#60813

Badland 12000-lb Winch Review, Installation, Preparation and Safety

12k WINCH OFF ROAD PIC

Wheelin’, muddin’, off-roading, jeeping, four-wheeling. It’s a favorite pastime here in the States, and why not? It’s a heckuva lot of fun and a thrill to explore and experience the rougher side of nature. So, if you’ve got a 4×4, it’s only natural you want a winch. You could very well be boldly going where no man has gone before– and for good reason!– and you’ll need an escape plan.

12K winch on ford

Winches are awesome, powerful mechanisms, but mis-mounted or misused, they can be extremely dangerous. Before you even purchase your off-road winch, you should know how it works, its limitations and how it runs. YouTuber “ghostses” offers an extremely well-covered video on the Badland 12000-lb. Capacity with Auto-Loading Brake (voted “Best Deal in Winching” by Off-Road magazine), and if you walk away uninformed after this, I don’t know what to tell ya.

Some highlights include:

1. Why he went with the 12000-lb. model (00:01:25)

2. Cable layers and winch strength (00:02:25)

3. The components, what they’re for and the manual (00:06:20)

4. The parts of the main winch and motor (00:14:18)

5. Component assembly and installation (00:35:09)

6. Pre-stretching the cable (00:46:10)

7. Other rigging and accessories (00:48:16)

8. Wicked cool demonstrations (00:57:18)

There are a number of extremely important safety tips and pointers throughout this video, so if it’s too long for you, I advise to take it in in “chapters.” Believe me, it’s well worth your while.

There is also a segment where the reviewer opens the housing to re-lube it. THIS WILL VOID THE WARRANTY. As it states in the manual, “The winch’s internal mechanism is permanently lubricated. Do not open the housing.”

Most importantly, of course, go to the Harbor Freight website and read the countless other customer reviews on the Badland 12K winch. You’ll see for yourself why it’s a favorite among off-roaders!

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The Little Winch That CAN!

Taking on an off-road adventure doesn’t mean you have to be reckless or unprepared. Be ready for nearly any altercation with the 2500 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control (Item #: 61840) from Harbor Freight! Whether it’s pulling your ATV out of a ditch or loading a boat onto your trailer, this light duty winch is perfect for those smaller jobs.

image_25605

This little unit packs a lot of winching power and all the features you expect from a high-quality winch. A permanent magnet motor draws less current than larger models, making this the ideal winch for your ATV and the automatic load-holding brake provides maximum safety. Plus, with the wireless remote control, you can operate the winch from up to 20 ft. away. Both reliable and easy-to-use, this 2500 lb. capacity winch also comes with a rock bottom price that can’t be beat.

“This winch pulls my John Deere out of trouble all the time when I venture into the woods and get
stuck …. It operates as I intend it to and pulls me out wherever I might be in a gully or stuck on a slippery log or whatever…. I usually attach it to a stout tree and it pulls me up a 20 degree grade without issue …. only issue is that it uses a lot of battery power and now I let the tractor keep running so as not to wear down the battery…” – by Nick from Medina, Ohio

“About 6 months ago I purchased this winch and the Truck mounted Crane. After a couple of uses I removed the hand winch that came with the Crane and installed the Bad Land 2500 winch. Boy what a wonderful product. I had contracted Tendinitis in my shoulders and hips and needed help getting in firewood. This combination was just the ticket. Now I get more wood per trip and hardly break a sweat. Needless to say, my shoulders are much relieved. Never a problem. I use a group 27 battery to gain the extra power to run the winch. I highly recommend this combo to get the job done. Great product.” – by Mr. B from Helena, MT

This handy ATV recovery winch is great for a number of tasks including loading vehicles and equipment or traversing rough terrain easily. With a 2500 lb. capacity, it’s perfect for any ATV or utility vehicle. However, if you’re on the lookout for a winch with a bit more power, be sure to check out the 9000 lb. and 12,000 lb. capacity winches as well, available at your local Harbor Freight store!

10 Customer Reviews Of Harbor Freight Products That Might Surprise You

HFT mosaic sale pic

As is always the case, this coming weekend’s Parking Lot Sale— our January Blowout— is garnering a lot of interest, particularly from those who are looking to add to their shop and garage for the coming year. Customers will find a number of products on sale that they’re familiar with (maybe some not so much) and have already formed opinions about. However, since there’s nothing like getting it from the horse’s mouth, here are ten customer reviews for products that will be among those on sale, some of which may persuade you in ways you didn’t expect (Note: prices on the individual product pages will reflect the PLS during its run. To see PLS prices now, click on the above image):

 

tool cart 4 door black

U.S. General 26-in. 4-Drawer 580 lb. Capacity Glossy Black Roller Cart

Bought this box two years ago and work out of it almost daily. I use the heck out of this thing and it rides in the back of our box truck work truck strapped in everywhere we go. It is loaded to the max and the wheels and drawers have never failed, and I cannot believe how much stuff I can fit in this box. With four longer carriage bolts you can bolt a 2×4 wood bumper across the back just under the lid and the height elevation lines up perfectly for the lower E-track strap system inside most commercial trucks and trailers. This is a great tool box, worth five times as much in my opinion. Cant go wrong with this.”  B. Hill – Cameron Park, CA

 

motorcycle lift

Pittsburgh Motorcycle 1000 lb. Capacity Motorcycle Lift

I have own this lift for a year and love it! I lift my Harley Davidson Street Glide and Soft Tail with with no problem. Also, a couple of my friend’s Ultra Classics. I’ve used it for maintenance, and repair on my bikes. This lift has saved me a lot of cash and allows me to do all my own bike services. Not to mention all that free beer my buddies bring over to use my lift! Read all the info that comes with it. It will tell you to put hyd. oil in the lift. I’ve left bikes on it for weeks at a time and it holds firmly. Yes it’s heavy, but it works great.”  USMCVet – AZ

 

90 amp flux wire welder

Chicago Electric Welding 90 Amp-AC, 120 Volt, Flux Cored Welder

I have a nice Hobart MIG, but it’s heavy and requires 240V. I bought this welder for welding in areas I don’t have 240V, but since I bought it, the Hobart has barely been touched. This welder is light, works great, and could not be more convenient. I’ve had it for a year or so, and it’s been dragged to races, and probably has ten or so hours of welding on it. It hasn’t missed a beat. If it died tomorrow, I’d happily go buy another one without complaint. I’ve done a fair amount with it… made a coffee table out of wrought iron, made a pit-cart, and swapped the entire body of a Toyota Pickup onto a Mercedes. It’s gotten some use, needless to say. It lays down nice welds for flux-core, and while it probably won’t last forever, the quality is surprisingly good. Gun feels a little flimsy and can get hot, but it’s never really bothered me. It’s one of my favorite HF purchases. Also, they include a full spool of wire, which impressed me.”  Ted – Spartanburg, SC

 

welding cabinet

Chicago Electric Welding Cabinet

I own and run a busy sculptural blacksmith shop and now have 3 of these carts. I have my MIG, Tig and Plasma cutter on each cart and I use them everyday. I love the working height of these carts and that they have well-built heavy drawers for storing tools and consumables. I am very hard on my equipment and tend to overload my carts with no problems. My work are is now cleaner and more organized.This cart is mostly assembled.You have to screw on wheels,casters, handle, tanks brackets and hose hooks. This took me about 15 minutes on the first cart and maybe 10 minutes on the other two.”  Bender Dave – Maine

 

tile brick saw 10 inch

Chicago Electric 10-in. 2.5 HP Tile/Brick Saw

I am a patio installation professional, but I was working on a multifaceted concrete paver project on my own home. I wanted a low-cost saw that I could use exclusively for this purpose without slowing my crews down by borrowing their tools. One thing that I learned: this saw specifically states in the product manual that it is to be used with a CONTINUOUS RIM diamond blade, not segmented. However, I had already purchased a segmented diamond blade and it worked fine to cut my pavers.

I performed approximately 100 linear ft. of paver cuts on the first project, then another 50 linear ft. on the second project. Initially, the saw started up fine. This saw has a 15 amp draw, so make sure you size your extension cord properly as to not blow a fuse or trip a breaker. I used a 12-gauge 25′ extension cord to be safe. The pump worked great. I took special care to properly clean the pump and saw surface after each use. Plenty of power, smooth swift cuts that look great upon completion. Sliding guide plate was properly adjusted to make straight cuts, and saw arm can be used in a fixed or downward motion. Did many angled cuts. Used it on 2 3/8″ pavers and 4″ block, no problem.

In my experience a pump needs to be properly cleaned and no allowed to freeze or dry up after each use. I stored my pump in a bucket of water at room temperature between used and had no issues. Also, keep your slurry water changed regularly as to avoid it binding up your pump.

Next project planned is a tile project in bathrooms/kitchen. Most reviews say it works great. I am also planning to go ahead and buy the stand, as it will be more convenient.

I have owned and used many different wet saws during my career and one thing is for sure: these saws take a beating with brick dust, vibration, loading/unloading, etc. It’s my opinion that it’s ridiculous to invest $1k in a saw that lasts just as long as this one. I recommend this product to the novice because it’s safe if procedures are followed, and to the beginning professional who has knowledge enough to appreciate a good value on site.”  XMark – Indianapolis, IN

 

12K winch

Badlands 12000 lb. Off-Road Vehicle Electric Winch with Automatic Load-Holding Brake

I just used this with the HF hitch mount receiver. I pulled my 2500HD with 8-ft plow out from being buried in heavy snow to the frame on an incline (I was pulling UP hill!). I used a winch block to gain some extra pull, but the winch and mount had NO problems moving the truck. I attempted to pull the truck with other trucks and a loader with no luck. I couldn’t believe how easy it moved. I have used other name brand winches in the past, and yes they are faster and have a longer duty cycle (which I exceeded with the HF and had no signs of motor overheating) but they do come with a HEFTY price tag that I will no longer justify. If you don’t need it or use it everyday, you can’t afford NOT to buy this. Really, it would have cost me a few hundred for a tow. Overall its great product and well worth the money.”  Sierra – CT

 

 8750-7000 watt generator
Predator 8750 Peak/7000 Running Watts, 13 HP (420cc) Generator EPA III

I bought the generator because my uncle has this one,, and he swears by it..Sure enough this bad boy powers the house …I have the fridge ,, upright freezer,, central air,, big screen tv,,, electric water heater ,, ADT…and it runs it all.(.Dont get crazy ,, but run the essentials)..Just have an electrician wire it up 30amp style to your electric pannel , and your golden..I did load it a little heave once and it threw the breaker on the generator,, but I just pushed the button to reset and we were rolling again..Easy pull start too,, buy a battery , and it just starts with the push of a button..also buy the wheel kit,, , you will need it to move it around.”  Not-in-the-Dark, Crossville, TN

 

6.5 gas engine

 Predator 6.5 HP (212cc) OHV Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine EPA

 I put this motor on my roto-tiller last year and wanted to get a full year of service before writing a review. ‘Awesome’ is the word that comes to mind. WHAT AN EASY INSTALL!!! Fell right into the mounting bolts. The motor is easy to start and control, the most dependable I have ever used. Fuel use is great and it is pretty quiet for a 6 HP motor. I am buying another just to have a spare for any other projects that come up. Thanks, Harbor Freight, for a good price on a great product!”  Garden Man – Swedesboro, NJ

 

IR Temperature Gun

Cen-Tech Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer With Laser Targeting

I bought mine years ago to monitor the oil temperature in my turkey fryer, and it worked great! Then I used it to monitor the temp of my parts while powder coating (350 – 450 degrees), and it works great for that too. On performance engines with individual exhaust runners, I use it to spot a rich or lean cylinder. If you have a Weber kettle BBQ grill, it works good to monitor the cooking temp.”  Curt – IL

 

3-in-1 jump starter

Cen-Tech 3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply

I bought this in the winter of 2005, and it has been a life saver every year. I don’t know how it has lasted as long as it has, but I plug it in for recharge any time I use it and just keep it in my truck the rest of the time. I have helped dozens of other drivers along the way as well as myself at each year among the 4 cars we own. This is going on 7 years, and I just used it again this morning, and it still charges to over 14 volts, and it will still crank a 350 over and over. I plugged a USB DC outlet into the jump starter to see if i could charge my phone with it and it worked.Get one!”  chefrick – CT

The Affordable, Rugged Pickup Truck Crane

A Central Hydraulics Pickup Truck Crane is like a smartphone (girlfriend? TiVo?): For years you’ve managed without one, but once it came into your life, you can’t imagine going on without it.

This brute lifter mounts to your truck bed– or other solid base– swivels 360 degrees and can lift up to 1,000 lbs! Lift scrap metal, firewood, motors, heavy machinery, beehives and more. It’s a favorite tool among Harbor Freight customers and, rather than me going on pitching the sucker, I’ll let them tell you how awesome it is:

“Bought it and put it in my Dodge to make it easier to load scrap… does a very good job lifting motors and scrap metal, in and out of my truck.”

How about for at the dock?

“I mounted this to the stern of my boat to lift my dingy and motor out of the water. It is perfect for this job. I also had it powder coated for corrosion.This is the best buy I’ve made in a long time. Thanks Harbor Freight.”

Or transporting heavy equipment?

“Bought this crane and mounted it to my welding trailer about two or three years ago, and about a month ago I used it for the first time to lift my engine-driven welder off the trailer. The crane works very well. Very happy with it.”

A common modification is to switch out the manual winch with an electric one, such as the Badlands 12-Volt 2,000 lb. model

“This works great on my log splitter. Put an electric winch on it and makes job much easier. Also made base for trailer to load big wood on it.”

…or adding an electric hoist, like the Best Value Chicago Electric 1,300 lb. Electric Hoist:

“I  bought this truck crane & mounted it to my 9′ deck behind my house to raise loads of firewood off the ground. Reconfigured it with an electric hoist and built 2 wooden boxes for the lift. The crane mounts through the floor near the deck railing & with the proper angle swivels out and clears the rail. My wife operates the winch from above. While I’m loading the lower box from the woodpile she’s unloading & stacking the other load to the deck woodpile. What a backsaver. Great product for the money!!!”

Whatever your load, the Central Hydraulics Pickup Truck Crane at Harbor Freight will make your life a whole lot easier.