Last Updated: August 15th, 2023

Installing A Winch On ATV: Cost, Guide, Tools

Installing A Winch On Atv: Cost, Guide, Tools

After buying an ATV, a winch is one of the best additional accessories that can be useful.

Often, the winch comes with high benefits for difficult situations on the trails and rough terrains. The winch is primarily used to pull some other vehicles or objects.

Sometimes, if your all-terrain vehicle gets stuck in the mud, this winch will simplify towing and pulling out the vehicle.

If you can install the winch on your own, then there are no costs apart from the raw materials getting used. Yes, it will cost some bucks if ATVs are taken to mechanics, and it’s always advisable to take it to experts.

When you like to ride through difficult trails where the chance of the ATV being stuck lingers, you should install a high-quality winch in your ATV to reduce the trouble of getting the vehicle out.

A premium rope or a high-tension cable will be required, which needs to be attached to the winch on one side, and the other will be attached to the vehicle, acting as the anchor in pulling or maneuvering the vehicle.

When riding in a group through difficult off-road terrains, if all the vehicles have winches, then there remains not much to worry about.

The presence of winches in all the all-terrain vehicles would mean that a stuck vehicle can be pulled out from the stuck area in a very short time.

If your ATVs don’t have winches and just one vehicle gets stuck in the mud, the adventure thrill would get spoiled largely due to the trouble you have to face. Having winches installed is like having a first aid kid; it is extremely important for being on the safe side.

A strong cable in the vehicle and the winch lets you ride more freely and enjoy the difficult trails throughout the states.

You might think of a dense mud pool when thinking about a stuck, but ATVs can also get stuck in other trails.

ATVs can often get stuck in dense snow and require a towing vehicle to the rescue. The ATV can get cramped up on rocky and sandstone surfaces, from which an installed winch can help the vehicle.

The Winch Essential Factors to Consider

In the US and UK markets, many types of winches are available to buy. Besides the conventional hydraulic winches, you will also find electrical winches.

The winches with an operative electricity system would need your vehicle’s battery as a power source.

The electric winch would require you to connect a few wires at the appropriate battery spots, and that will do. The other essential facts about winches are as follows:

Weight balance

The weight of the winch you will be buying should be by the size and engine power of the all-terrain vehicle.

If your vehicle is off the high-performance category or large extra seat category, installing a winch of around three thousand lbs will be ideal.

Smaller ATVs with an engine capacity of fewer than four hundred ccs will work fine with finches weighing two thousand lbs. You will find the weight of the winch in the specifications section with other details.

Source of power used

Most modern winches you will find of premium quality are electric winches. The modern ATVs are also electric-powered and can easily power the winch from the vehicle battery.

There are hydraulics options, too. The winches with the hydraulic system pull up the power by using the design of the power steering pump. A hydraulic winch would be better for your vehicle if your ATV is old and the battery is not in great condition.

The cost of winches

The winch is a vehicle accessory that comes in the top three essential accessories the owner can get installed. The winches are slightly more costly than other accessories, but they serve the purpose well enough.

The lowest-priced ones can be found for around a hundred dollars, which won’t be much to use after a certain time. The higher-priced ones can be a purposeful winch kit that would work fine with most ropes and cables.

Those would be priced around a hundred and fifty dollars. The winch kits are easily available online, but installation is more important than buying.

The service centers would charge a large bill of a hundred dollars for just installing your winch to the ATV. Doing it on your own would save you from the extra expense of getting it installed in some fancy garage instead of your own hands.

Type of cable to use

This choice of equipment is also very important as the synthetic rope or wire cable perfectly coordinates with the winch. Synthetic rope is the ideal choice for ATVs that pull heavy loads.

Utility off-road vehicle owners who use their atv for agriculture and other load-carrying purposes prefer lightweight synthetic ropes. But the cables are more long-lasting than the synthetic ropes.

The tools required for installing a winch and the primary steps

The installer should first remember that it won’t be a piece of cake work. The ATV design of the early years and even modern atvs of nowadays are designed in a way that does not support the winch installation in a large proportion.

Both the frame and the bumper are not well supported for winch installation.

Rarely any off-road vehicle has a bumper that fits perfectly with a winch.

But don’t be disheartened; this doesn’t mean a winch cannot be installed on your ATV. First, some removal and unscrewing are required.

The winch is also needed to buy the mounting plate ideal for your ATV. The essential tools required for the process are as follows:

  • Drill machine.
  • Voltage meter.
  • Safety glasses.
  • Test light.
  • Removal tool used in rivet.
  • Long-lasting bumper.

How To Install ATV Winches?

Every winch comes with a manual copy full of instructions and facts. It is important to go through it before installing the winch because knowing some essential features makes the installation process much easier, even if you already know it. The winch installation steps are as follows:

First, you will find the bumper in front of the ATV, which is there for protection. There, you will notice the plate, which is also for protection. This plate needs to be removed.

Getting the bolts out with the help of the drill will automatically get the plate out. After the plate is off, you will notice a cover made from plastic just behind the space of the plate. You need to remove this plate as well.

A few ATV winches would fit best if you installed the bracket and fairlead. So after getting that done from easy instructions in the first few pages of your, it will be time to mount the plate. The perfect winch mount is also a crucial part of proper installation.

The mounting plate does the task of attaching the winch with the mounting bracket. Using the bolts with a drill makes the winch fit perfectly with the ideal mounting plate.

Then, installing the roller fairlead is a crucial task requiring great focus. The roller fairlead protects the line from getting entangled and letting loose from the spool present in the winch.

The most preferred steel cables come with a roller fairlead, but the synthetic ropes do not have them. 

When the plate and the winch are already up on the vehicle, you need to use roller fairleads with the specifically sized bolts and drill them in. Some cables have a hook.

Ultimately, this would mean you must take it through the fair lead before fixing it.

Then comes the need to attach the handlebar switch to the proper spot. Find the place on the atv suitable for your use and wire the rocker switch to that place. Using the clamps first to make the positioning proper is important.

Using the screws to hold the switch at the ideal spot. This rocker switch remains connected to the solenoid box and the power source of twelve volts.

Except for these in most winches, you will also need to attach the solenoid box and the circuit breaker to properly complete the installation.

If you take your ATV to a fancy garage, they will charge you around a hundred dollars for the winch installation.

In other local vehicle stores, it would cost around rightly dollars, which is still a large amount. If you follow the instruction manual properly, you do not have much to worry about.

Knowing the basic wiring skills and installation process will get the job done. So don’t overthink and get your hands at work if you can do it independently.


Why is a winch considered an essential accessory for an ATV?

A winch is considered essential for an ATV because it offers high benefits in difficult situations on trails and rough terrains. It is primarily used to pull vehicles or objects, especially when the ATV gets stuck in mud, snow, or other challenging terrains. Having a winch is like having a first aid kit, ensuring safety and convenience.

What are the primary uses of a winch on an ATV?

A winch on an ATV is primarily used to pull other vehicles or objects. It is especially useful when the ATV gets stuck in challenging conditions like mud, dense snow, or rocky terrains. The winch simplifies the process of towing and pulling out the stuck vehicle.

What are the essential factors to consider when choosing a winch for an ATV?

Some essential factors to consider include the weight balance (the winch’s weight should match the ATV’s size and engine power), the source of power used (electric or hydraulic), the cost of the winch, and the type of cable to use (synthetic rope or wire cable).

What are the primary tools required for installing a winch on an ATV?

The essential tools required for winch installation include a drill machine, voltage meter, safety glasses, test light, rivet removal tool, and a long-lasting bumper.

How much does it typically cost to install a winch on an ATV?

If you install the winch independently, the primary cost is for the raw materials used. However, they might charge around a hundred dollars for the installation if taken to a service center. Local vehicle stores might charge around eighty dollars. Doing it independently can save these installation costs.


ATV riders who always choose rough trails and like the adrenaline rush of challenging obstacles should install a winch in their vehicle to avoid deep trouble on the highly difficult trails.

Many riders don’t like to take risks installing important accessories like the winch and, therefore, get it fixed to the ATV only by experts. But you can do it on your own, too.

But it would demand a lot of time and patience from your side.

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