How to Use a Come Along Winch? – [Step by Step Guide]

You have probably heard about the winch if you are on the road often. Maybe, you have a winch handy. On the road, a winch can be a pretty good tool. Winches are best used for lifting hauling your vehicle. Another main thing the winch does is get the vehicle unstuck, and self recover. Winches do all the work and are mainly battery operated. 

Winches come in all kinds of models and sizes made to fit your vehicle and take its load. But not all of them are portable, those that are, a portable winch is called a come-along winch. Winches are cheap and lightweight, making them easy to carry around in your car. Since they are for self-recovery, it is pretty easy to attach and detach them. These winches are used in trailers, while others are for off-road trekking and jeeps. 

What is a Come Along Winch?

The come-along winch is hand-operated, looks like a racquet and is used to pull objects. A wire rope or line is usually found wrapped over the drum. Abraham Maasdam first made the come-along winch of Deep Creek, Colorado. It was later commer cialised in 1946 by his son Felber Maasdam. A come-along helps to do the work of winches but much faster since it’s easier to handle and use. A come-along will also tend to weigh a lot less than traditional winches. Come along are popular since they can be used by one person with ease, while a conventional winch is a bit too heavy and more mechanical and might need an extra pair of hands. 

How to Use a Come Along Winch – Steps

Lets start our detailed steps of how to use a come along winch.

Step 1: Releasing the Cable

The first thing you need to do is release the cable. To remove the line, make sure to pull the spring on the lever handle and position it up to disengage the ratchet drive. Attach the load to the load hook and squeeze the trigger. This allows the cable to spool freely and walk it over to the anchor point. Put the anchor and the line together in a position to make sure it is fully engaged. After this, you can connect the anchor hook to the point and pull it. Make sure to find a strong tree or rock to wrap the line around. The line needs to be tightened thoroughly, and the base should be strong enough to take on the load. Also, you will need to drape a towel of bedsheet over the come-along winch, which will act as a counteract if, in any case, the line snaps. 

Step 2: Pulling The Load

To start pulling the load, make sure to engage the drive and push the drive spring into a down position. The drive will engage and skyrocket, and you will be able to swing the lever back and forth. Do it till the load has reached its desired position. Once it is done, you just need to secure the load, ensuring it does not move when the tension has been released. Make sure to pull with a short stable round for the first few times. If the vehicle is still not moving much, it can be useful to push it a bit. But keep in mind that people push it from the side and do not stand directly behind the vehicle. 

Step 3: Releasing the Line

Now you need to release the tension after successful pulling of the load. To start, loose the cable, and push the drive pawl spring to an up position to disengage the drive. Swing the handle again to stop the anchor hook entirely. This forces the winch to pin to stay down due to the tension. The cable drum will not be able to back off, one by one. Repeating this action, again and again, the cable tension will decrease to make sure you can loosen it even further. 

Make sure you avoid tangling the cable while rewinding since that will be a hassle if you need to use it once again. Make sure you hold the hook down using one hand and rewind the other until the cable is neatly back into the drum. 

Here are Some Safety Instructions to Keep in Mind:

While operating the winch, make sure to follow these general safety instructions. 

Make sure nobody is standing behind in front of the vehicle. Always make sure to clear the area before you begin pulling. Sudden jerks in the car might injure someone seriously. It’s also a good idea to learn a few hand signals like proceed, stop, and pull before you use your winch. Make sure your winch is not broken, and parts don’t need changing before going out. Maintaining the winch of good order is of utmost essential to make sure it works properly. 

It’s best to get some trial runs done in a safe place before you use the winch for the first time outside. A great tip to remember, the lines can cause lacerations and burns, so it is better to have some industrial-grade gloves handy so that you can use them anytime. Do not get out of the car while working your winch. Sudden jerks can cause you to fall and hurt yourself if not careful.

Do not wear loose clothing while working the come along as the baggy clothing might get stuck on the line. Also, if you come ahead and are battery operated, check if it is working beforehand. 


Winches are among the best and most essential tools to have handy if you travel a lot. However, in these kinds of situations, it may cause panic, so make sure to take some time to assess the situation. Find a good place to wrap the line around, a stable base and one you feel will be able to take the load.

If you are not sure about working the winch, call someone for help, maybe another traveling party or roadside assistance. They will get the work done much faster. We sure hope, after this, you will be able to install a come-along winch with ease and comfort.

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