How to Wire a Winch on a Trailer Like An Expert

If you’re stuck in a situation where you’ve to lift, raise or pull your vehicle, then a winch is the best option, hands down. They’re definitely helpful for self-recovery and to pull heavy burdens.

Well, the winches come with multiple models for different jobs. For example, some winches are installed in the trailers, and some are for hard travel. But, the process of the installation might be tricky sometimes if you don’t know it.

This write-up is filled with information about how to wire a winch on a trailer bed so that installing and connecting them to a power source can be uncomplicated to you.

Let’s buckle up then!

Why Mount a Winch on a Trailer?

Mounting a winch on a trailer can be useful for a variety of tasks. A winch allows the trailer to be loaded or unloaded without the need for additional equipment or labor. Additionally, a winch can be used to pull a vehicle out of a ditch or other difficult terrain.

It can also be used to move heavy equipment or materials around a job site. Overall, a winch provides added versatility and convenience to a trailer and can save time and money in various situations.

Types of Winching You Will Find on The Way

There’re 3 types of winching you can get easily with the winch installation kit that’ll be provided with the package you’ll be purchasing. Like,

Light Duty

  • Weight capacity is below your winches capacity
  • Small to medium gradient

Medium Duty

  • Matches the winches capacity of weight.
  • Medium inclines

Heavy Duty

  • Close to the winches maximum weight range and of heavy-duty
  • Terrains are rough and tough.
  • An extra battery is needed for the winch to power   

How to Wire a Winch on A Trailer Without Stumbling

Now that you’ve read the proper safety method and types, let’s get on the trailer winch mount. The winch setup on trailer will be simpler once you follow these,

Car Trailer Winch Mounting Ideas- 01

There’re three ways to connect the winch to the battery. They are:

  • The Rear of Your Vehicle

First, find an easy and good place at the rear of the vehicle so that you can install the quick disconnect. That’ll be functional for the fast attach or detach of the electrical wires which are connected with the trailer winch.

Then, install the black negative wire in a vehicle frame from that quick disconnect part to the clean surface.

Wrap the wires very carefully to your car’s battery with the best battery for trailer winch and avoid the places where these wires can get extremely hot.

  • Under the Hood

Here, you’ve to connect the positive red wire. It’ll come from the rear of your vehicle to the post on the vehicle’s battery. 

Now, the different negative wire should be used at both the ends of the eyelets. Then ground your battery to a metal clean surface.  It should be on a vehicle frame, obviously!

  • On the Winch

This part of the trailer winch install is quite interesting. You’ve to fix the positive wire to the positive winch post and the negative wire to the negative winch post.

Connect the reversed ends of these 2 wires. Installation done!

So, the main point is to attach your vehicle’s quick disconnect to the trailer quick disconnect for a powerful and simple winch set up on the trailer.

Car Trailer Winch Mounting Ideas – 02

Well, if your car hauler winch has its own power source and if it’s used more frequently, then follow the below process,

  • The best way to mount a winch in a trailer is to find a suitable spot for it. You should cover your battery and further wirings to protect them from other elements.
  • Connect the ground leads and the power to the proper posts of the winch.
  • Run these two (power and wires) to the mounted battery.
  • Attach the positive wire to the positive post
  • And the negative wire should be attached to the negative post

Go through the video tutorial for getting real experience.

Safety Guidelines to Follow Before Winching on A Trailer

Before we jump into the details of wiring a winch on a trailer, you’ve to maintain some safety guidelines because you’ll be in contact with a lot of electrical connections and wires. Let’s see what those instructions are,

  • Proceed with caution as you’ll be handling so many electric things and tools. Winches are prepared to pull loads of force, hence keep it in your mind while working.
  • Make sure to clean up your workplace so you don’t slip or trip
  • Always wear gloves before touching anything. They’ll protect your hands from electricity.
  • Try to wear tight clothes before starting your task. Loose clothes can get caught in the winch’s parts.

Can You Power a Winch through Trailer Plug?

The winch should’ve got a direct connection to your battery for the power. If you want your battery to always be charged, you can try a 12V auxiliary terminal with a 7 way connector.

Additionally, you’ll have to run 10 gauge wire from the 12V that’s 10-1-1 to keep the trailer winch charged!


Do I need a Circuit Breaker wiring a winch on a trailer?

No, you don’t need a circuit breaker for wiring. Other things like switches or fuses are also unnecessary here as these items draw a lot of currents. You can use better MNFRs and warn, though, if they’re essential.

How powerful winch do I need?

You’ll need a winch that has 1.5 times more weight than your vehicle’s actual weight. The heavier your car, the more powerful winch it’ll need. Although it’s the minimum rating, the capacity will still depend on certain factors.

Do I need a mounting plate for the winch?

Yes, you need a trailer winch mounting plate for the easy installation process. But first, you’ve to install the plate. And you need to remove the car bumper fully to adjust both plate and winch!

How can I keep my winch battery charged?

You don’t need a separate charger to charge the battery of your trailer winch. Just connect the wire to the battery, and that’s it. It’ll maintain a complete charge while you’re driving your vehicle!

Is lithium battery good for winch?

Of course, they’re good. If you want more winching power with less drainage, then go for lithium batteries that can be used for a longer time!

The Bottom Line

That’s the end of our article. We hope you got a detailed idea about how to wire a winch on a trailer and what to keep in mind for that.

Of course, it’s not an easy job to install something like this, but it’s not that complicated either. If you try to follow the guideline, we hope you’ll get to it the right way.

Wish you luck!

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

Articles: 98