How to Connect a Winch to a Hitch Receiver? – [Guide]

You probably have bought yourself a winch if you are on the road often. What is a winch, you ask? It is a tool used to pull the vehicle if it gets stuck in any case. But now that you have a winch and know how to use it, you probably wonder where this hitch receiver comes into play. A hitch receiver is a tool with which you connect your winch. It is perhaps the next thing you need to buy after buying a winch. 

What is a Hitch Receiver?

A winch receiver is a tool that will fit into a hitch mount on your car or trailer. It is designed in a way so that you can remove the winch after every use. The winch receiver is usually held by a solid pin or a steel screw. This screw can be removed, which lets the winch be free. When not in use, the hitch can then be stored in the car safely. The best thing about the receiver is that it can be used on both ends of the car, so you can use winches from both sides if needed. 

A winch will be left exposed to rain and mud if you do not remove it for long periods. On-road, it is more problematic since heavy jerking can loosen the screws. So the expensive tool will need to be cleaned later, which is quite a bit of a hassle or might get worn down and need to be changed. Therefore it is important to make sure you have a hitch receiver. The tool can be kept inside, and only when needed will you have to connect it. 

How to Connect a Winch to Hitch Receiver – Steps

The hitch receivers are designed to attach to the vehicles with ease and without the use of complicated tools. They are usually of a bolt-on and off mechanism. This makes them relatively easy to attach to cars and trailers and even detach them after the job is done. However, you must follow the torque specifications while fastening and locking washers. 

You need to install the hitch receiver into the car or the trailer standard receiver hitch, and once it’s done, just secure it with a pin. However, make sure to practice installing it in some free time so that you can be confident and worry-free when the situation arises. Here are the steps that you must follow to connect the hitch receiver-

  1. Get down on your knees and try to feel the receiver in your car or trailer. You will be able to feel a compartment slide with holes on it. This is to pin the hitch receiver to the winch.
  2. Once you can feel the compartment area, slowly slide on the hitch receiver straight.
  3. Once it’s done, make sure to screw on the bolts tightly. It is dangerous if the bolts are not screwed on correctly, so if you hear jingling a bit, make sure to tighten it once again.
    Not tightening the bolts will make them vulnerable to damage and wear down the receiver and the winch. The receiver might even break, which will cost you quite a few dollars to buy a new one or get new parts.
  4. After this, start pulling with short controlled pulls. The winch, once properly connected, should be stable and safe enough. 

Detaching the Hitch Receiver from the Winch

After you are done, it is best to detach the hitch receiver and clean it before storing it away. Slowly start turning the bolts, and once they come loose, swiftly pull out the receiver from the winch. Make sure to check for damages before storing it so that if needed, you can change it as soon as possible, before the next ride. 

Now that you know how to connect winches to hitch receivers, you will be all set for your next road trip. However, make sure to follow some safety rules while working the winch and receiver and not panic. Take some time to assess the situation before proceeding with the task. You could also call roadside services for help. Make sure you know how to work your way with the winch, too, since a hitch receiver is just a secondary tool to use with the winch. 

Not Using a Receiver

Not using a receiver means you will need to install winches on both sides to make sure you can pull it out from either side when it gets stuck. This will add up on your cost of installing it and also maintenance. The winches might even get stolen. But by using a receiver, half your problems are automatically solved. There is no need to double install, which will save you a lot of money and maintenance costs. Also, you can only install the winches when needed. And since the receiver will allow you to detach the winch, it will be safe in your vehicle or trailer. 

Buying a Hitch Receiver

There are all kinds of hitch receivers that can be installed on your car. Make sure you buy one that will fit your car. You can go to your mechanic and also ask them to help you out if you are not sure. Any winch receiver will fit into a hitch receiver, so there is no need to worry about that. Sometimes, a wiring plug is pre installed into your winch, which will provide power to the winch from within. 

You could also use gasoline to power the winch and winch receiver. This will allow for the winch to be used on any of the hitch installed cars or trailers. The receiver also provides a sturdy base to connect with and makes sure that you do not face any problems while pulling the load. A hitch receiver will make your life so much more manageable if you travel in snow or deep waters. It becomes hard to see the hooking point, which can be prevented by using the hitch receiver. The hitch receivers make it easy to attach the winch hook and secure it. You can be assured that the hook is secured to a solid and robust point and will be guaranteed.

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