Winch Only Works One Way: All You Have to Know

It’s frustrating when you are stuck in mud and the winch only works one way. Yes, many off-roaders have been in such trouble. But worry not, we are here to help you out of this difficulty. 

This insightful article is going to discuss all the possible reasons and the solution for your winch working in one direction only.

Let’s begin…

Why does my winch only work in one direction?

You turn to a winch for help if your vehicle becomes trapped in the wild. However, much like any other piece of machinery, a winch experiences physical or functional problems.

Today we will see why and when a winch becomes unidirectional.

  • Loose Cables or Connections

Electrical faults are common among machinery tools. Wires and cables can loosen in a winch after a long period of usage. Regularly do maintenance checks to keep them clean and operational.

  • Busted Motor

Needless to say, one of the most important components in a winch is the motor. Without it the winch is practically useless. After all those off-road endeavours it’s possible that the motor is unclean. Dirt particles can clog the inner parts of the motor causing it to cease working.

  • Defective Solenoid

Solenoids in your winch work as a switch. They provide the necessary current to it. When you engage a winch, current goes from the battery to the solenoid, it then sends the current to the motor to start towing. For forward and backward spooling, a winch contains two pairs of solenoids.

If any of the solenoids are dead or malfunctioning, the winch may not rotate at all or only rotate in one direction.

  • Defective remote control switch

The winch will not activate at all if the remote switch is out of order. Water may potentially cause it to stop working by corroding its internal components.

Warn winch goes out but not in

9 out of 10 times it’s usually a flawed solenoid causing this nerve-wrecking issue. But this can be solved easily. Test your warn winch solenoids following this process:

  1. With the help of a tester tool, check all the wires connecting the solenoids to the motor. Clean the terminals and replace any dead wire.
  2. Unscrew solenoid covers and disconnect wires from the solenoid. Inspect all of the connections within the solenoid.
  3. If the connections are in good working order, try switching the winch again.

Does everything check out properly? If not then try replacing your solenoids or move onto the next segment to learn about other possible solutions.

How to fix winch that works only one way

Even the finest winches occasionally run across technological difficulties. Fortunately, with proper guidance it’s possible to repair a winch that isn’t working properly. Let’s check out the following solutions:

  1. Analyse Wire connection

With the help of a voltage tester, check all the wires connecting the control box to the battery and the winch. If any of the wire is faulty then replacing it should solve this problem.

  1. Repairing Busted Motor

Motors usually don’t go bad entirely. Often it’s dirt particles that cause these issues of the motor getting stuck. However, you can check if the motor is functional by Jumper cable test. Follow these procedures to perform the test:

  • Disconnect the battery’s positive connection. The connection to the ground should stay.
  • Spool and the motor are disengaged.
  • The three cables that travel from the control pack to the three posts on the motor should be marked and disconnected.
  • “A”, “F1”, and “F2” will be imprinted next to the three posts on the motor. Run a small jumper wire from “A” to “F1” and put power from the battery to “F2”. At this moment, the winch motor should run in one direction.
  • Next, place the jumper wire from “A” to “F2” and connect “F1” to the battery. This time the motor should run in the other direction.

Check out the following video in order to understand better:

If the motor doesn’t work you will need a new one

  1. Solution: Inspect the Solenoid

Now that we are here it must mean the motor works fine. So it’s probably the solenoids that are damaged. Examine all of the wiring, as well as the solenoids themselves. It’s possible that they are rusty,corroded or broken. In this case try replacing the defective Solenoids

For visuals on completing this task securely you can watch this:

  1. Solution: Flawed remote control switch

Another possibility could be a damaged remote switch. To fix the problem, try to repair the components or replace the remote.

Do winches work both ways?

Yes. Winches can be used in either direction. These mechanical devices have the ability to spool in and out as needed. You can use the remote that is provided with the winch to spool in and out as per your  requirement.

Does it matter which way a winch spools? 

It’s advised that winches should spool in from the bottom of the winch drum.  This configuration prevents unnecessary load on the winch that comes from the overwound setting.

Final Thoughts 

There are so many electrical components in a winch  that contribute to its flawless operation. We hope that this detailed guide has assisted you in becoming familiar with your winch, diagnosing problems, and resolving them.

Happy Off-Roading!

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *