Learning, Wiring,

How to Wire a Winch on a Trailer (Our 2 Methods)

In this article, I’m going to delve deep into wiring a winch onto a trailer.

Learning to wire a winch onto a trailer is essential for being able to move around any goods you might have with ease and avoiding the dangerous pitfalls of doing it wrong. After learning how to do this you will be able to set up your winch quickly and without worrying whether it will snap off in mid-drive.

Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time to learn how to do this properly leading to winches snapping off and causing damage to property and those driving behind.

In general, the process of wiring a winch on a trailer is simple. First, have your safety gear (insulation gloves) on. Then, to wire a winch to the car’s battery, install a quick disconnect at the rear area of your car. Next, connect the quick disconnect to the car’s battery under the vehicle’s hood, and finally, wire the winch to the car’s battery via the red and black cables. You can also wire a winch with its battery. Begin by installing the battery nicely and connecting the power and ground leads. Then, thread the hot and ground cables to the trailer-mounted battery. Lastly, connect the hot and black cables to the winch’s positive and negative posts respectively.

The process involves handling various tools and electrical wires which might harm you. So, always have on full safety gear which encompasses wearing insulation gloves and working in a tidy environment.

There are two ways you can use to wire a winch and the battery.

Method 1: The Car’s Battery as The Winch’s Source of Power

In this technique, the car’s battery connects to the winch directly.

The Rear Position (On the Car)


Step 1

Install the quick disconnect strategically at the rear section of your vehicle. The quick disconnect helps you to quickly attach or detach the cables that connect the car to a trailer winch.

Step 2

Install the negative cables – it is usually color-coded black. Connect it from the quick disconnect to a clean metal frame or surface on the vehicle.

Step 3

Next, thread the wires to the quick disconnect from the car’s battery. Do not run the wires to any surface that may make them hot.

threading the wires to the quick disconnect from the car’s battery
Video | Sherpa 4×4

Wiring Under the Hood

Proceed as follows:

Step 1

Attach the positive cable – usually red, to the battery’s positive post.

Step 2

Obtain another negative wire with eyelets on both ends and use it to ground the battery to a neat metal surface on your car’s frame.

Wiring on The Winch

Step 1

To the positive post on the winch, connect the hot cable.

Step 2

Attach the black wire (negative wire) to the negative post on the winch.

Step 3

Next, extend the opposite ends of the two cables (the ends with a quick disconnect) to the trailer’s coupler for use.

electrifying/powering the winch
Video | Sherpa 4×4

To electrify/power the winch, attach the car’s quick disconnect to the trailer’s quick disconnect.

Method 2: The Winch is Supplied with Its Power Source

If you use your winch constantly, then it is advisable to avoid draining your car’s battery quickly by wiring it in the vehicle’s 12-volt battery. So, this is the best way to wire your winch, it should have its power source.

Step 1

Locate a nice spot to install a battery to power the winch. Cover the battery and the winch to avert contact with other parts in the vehicle.

Step 2

Connect the power and the ground leads to the correct posts on the winch.

Step 3

Thread the hot and ground cables to a trailer-mounted battery.

Step 4

Attach the hot cable to the positive post on the winch, and the black connection to the correct posts on the winch.

Winch Recommendations

If you need a winch kit, I recommend Lewis winch. Why Lewis winch? The winch is durable, and I can personally testify to that. Besides, it is reliable and cheap. So, be sure that your Lewis winch will last longer and function optimally no matter how frequently used. Check the following list of options:

  1. Lewis winch – 400 MK2
  2. 5” Snatch Block – 4.5 Ton
  3. Tree Saver Belt
  4. Trailer-Hitch Mount – c/w Lock

Safety Tips

As aforementioned, safety measures are mandatory in this exercise. Without safety gear and other precautions, you may get hurt and jeopardize the whole experiment. Read the following detailed tips and be all eyes to be safe.

Proceed with Caution

You must always know that you are handling dangerous objects and wires to be psychologically prepared for the task. Winches can lift or pull heavy-weighted objects; you are only a few kilograms heavy. Be vigilant.

Work in a Neat Environment

Get rid of the things that can topple you off. Remove dirt particles that can hinder the clarity of vision while wiring the winch to a trailer.

Keep Your Gloves On

The winch wires often contain splinters on their surface. The splinters may penetrate your hand. But gloves can protect from splinters, and have them on in the process.

The gloves should be made of insulating fabric to protect you from electrical shock since you will be handling electrical wires.

Proper Clothing

Wear a comfortable mechanical apron if doing the soldering. Avoid wearing watches, jewelry, and any other object or attire that may be hooked on the moving sections of the winch. (1, 2)

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) watches – https://www.gq.com/story/best-watch-brands
(2) jewelry – https://www.vogue.com/article/jewelry-essentials-fine-online

Video References

Doublewide6 Repairs LLC

Sherpa 4×4

Jason The Municipal Mechanic

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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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