winch suggestions


Well, I smacked the car broadside into a wall at Road America a few weeks ago and after the safety crew unloaded it back in the paddock I had to get creative in getting the car back up on the open trailer. Trailer doesn’t have a winch which made things much harder. Friend’s truck, tow straps/chains, and many hands since the car wasn’t running and not rolling too well. While I’m working on the fate of the car, I figure buying a winch would be a good idea. Any suggestions on winch brands, pulling capacity, and mounting would be appreciated. Thanks!


Open trailer or enclosed?


Open trailer, 18’ steel bed, tire rack on the front.


I’ve helped put a number of busted up cars on open trailers and have rec’d help doing the same on my own car several times. Imo winches aren’t the best fit for an open trailer because they can get beat up by weather. For an open trailer a half-dozen guys can get the car on board pretty quickly with some tow straps and maybe a come-along. Dollies for wheels and big jacks help also. Big jacks roll nicely.

Harbor Freight has wheel dollies for cheap and here’s a come-along.

Note that the cable on the come-along is pretty short so it has to be used with something else.

3 guys each ratcheting tow straps can do a lot of pulling in a hurry. Works just fine. Of course, this assumes you, ah, have friends.


Friends and adrenaline worked last time. Staying off the walls would be better still.

Thanks for the come-along suggestion.


Rich, my brother’s trailer has a setup that would likely work well for you as well. He’s got a piece of square tubing welded on the trailer deck all the way forward - I think it actually protrudes through the fairing. The winch itself is a hitch mount winch that slides into the receiver, so you could remove it during storage if you’re concerned about weather. Let me know if you want more details.

I had previously considered adding a couple wheel dollies to my standard load out, and now I think I’ll just do it. What’s a few more pounds, right?



And speaking of friends…thanks again Cliff.

I’ve seen folks on trailer forums talking about welding a standard receiver to the trailer ( and then using a hitch-mounted winch. This would help with weather issues and save mounting a box cover, plus help to avoid possible theft issues when the trailer is in storage.

I’d like to see pics of how your brother set his up. Also, what pulling capacity does he use, and would this have been enough to pull my car onto the trailer?


Email sent - I’ll try to get pix.



Most of the nice open trailer winch solutions utilize a truck box/triangle box mounted to the front of the trailer and then the winch and battery are stored inside the box protected from weather and thieves. I had all those items sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for a year, but I never pulled the trigger as I figure as soon as I put it on, I will need it.


Yep, I was using the same logic but it didn’t quite work out for me.

Thanks for the box suggestion.