How to Test a Winch Motor? – [Detailed Guide]

Here in this article we will discuss that How to Test a Winch Motor with the help of some easy and detailed steps.

How to Test a Winch Motor – Methods

Here are two methods you can try, to test your winch motor without removing it from your vehicle:

Method 1: Jumper Cable Test

It’s a test to see if the motor works by hot wiring it. The ‘Jumper Cable Test’ is a pretty simple method if you have a fundamental knowledge of machine operation and electricity. Here are the steps for testing a jumper cable.

  • Disconnect the winch wires from the car.
  • The battery of the vehicle should be prepared. Whether this is the battery of your car or a spare battery, it is essential.
  • You must connect the battery to the winch using jumper cables. What you should keep in mind is that the red cable is usually used on the positive terminal of the battery and the black cable on the negative terminal, even though polarity is not important here.
  • The black cable can be connected to the winch’s terminals on either side.
  • Tap the other terminal of the winch softly with the positive red cable. The winch should respond electrically as a result of this. If the winch drum moves, it shows your motor is operational. If not, you may terminate this trial. There could be an issue with the winch’s electrical components, or the motor could be broken.
  • Using this cable, you can tap the winch drum when the positive cable is connected to the terminal. When the winch drum turns, you’ve successfully tapped it.
  • Attempt to reverse the connections. Winch drums should now rotate counterclockwise.

Method 2: Voltage Drop Test

Performing a voltage drop test guarantees that the problem lies only with the winch’s electrical components and not with the motor itself.

  • A multimeter with a VDC setting should be utilised.
  • One of the probes should be connected to the winch’s grounding system.
  • A second probe can be attached to either the blue or yellow cables of the winch. It is not really important which direction the cable faces.
  • When you turn on the multimeter and the winch, the reading on the multimeter should be close to the working voltage of the winch. If this is not the case, the issue with your winch is with the electrical components.

Method 3: Bench Testing Your Winch Motor

To thoroughly test your winch, you can disconnect it from your truck or ATV and attach it to a bench. Bench testing will provide you with a more detailed and accurate reading of your winch. Moreover, you will have the opportunity to test all of your winch’s specifications to ensure that it meets the manufacturer’s specifications.

  • Check that your winch is securely fastened to the bench.
  • Ensure that an earth cable is attached to the motor earth, which is located on the bottom of the winch motor.
  • Install a cable between terminals F1 and A.
  • The polarity can be confirmed by connecting a live cable to terminal F2.
  • Alternatively, connect the live cable to the terminal A and connect the other end of the cable to the terminal F2.

What is a winch motor?

The motor of a winch is the component which actually drives the cable, rope, or chain. A winch system’s winch motor might be electrical, air, or hydraulically operated. A winch motor not only provides the pull for the winch, but also powers the cable, rope, or chain to and from the winch. For huge, overhead winches in manufacturing plants, the motor may be as massive as a small car and powered by an extremely high voltage. The motors for vehicle-mounted winch applications are often driven by 12-volt, automotive-type batteries and resemble the starter motor for a car engine. A winch’s pulling and lifting capacity is determined primarily by the motor strength.

What is the need of testing the winch motor?

A working motor is essential to the operation of your winch. It’s so useless that you might as well shred it for components, which you wouldn’t want to do. Having now learned how the winch motor works, you know how important it is to the overall winch system. If you keep testing your winch motor on a frequent basis, you can actually save money, considering how pricey a winch motor is. In addition to your innate love of winches, you should test your motor to save time and money in the future.  

Necessary precautions to take before you test your winch motor

It is crucial to be aware of every safety precaution that needs to be taken before beginning to test a winch motor. Henceforth, without being naïve, read every precautionary measure and then only get started with the project.

  1. It is not a good idea to experiment with electricity if you do not know how it works. Before you begin testing, you must be clear about the intricacies of electricity and electrical components. Be sure that you know exactly what you are dealing with before you take a risk. Don’t be unaware of what can cause you or others harm.
  2. Wear gloves. The most basic precaution you can take is to take this step. Make certain that your gloves are sturdy and of high quality. The callousness of not wearing gloves shouldn’t be a reason for something hazardous to happen to your hands.
  3. Fire hazards should be avoided. Make certain that there are no combustible materials in the vicinity. There is a possibility that these materials could be ignited by electric sparks generated by winch components. Keep a fire extinguisher close by.
  4. Make sure you have the right equipment. Ensure that none of your equipment is damaged and that it is of the greatest quality. A damaged piece of equipment may inflict unnecessary harm.


When you are diligent in maintaining your winch motor, you will ensure that it works splendidly. Even with the finest care, it will eventually show signs of wear and tear. A malfunctioning winch motor can be diagnosed with these tests and the appropriate course of action can then be taken.

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