A winch can be an essential tool to help a truck or SUV owner get unstuck when venturing off the pavement. Whether it’s mired in mud, stuck in snow or sand, or simply slipping off the trail, an electric truck winch can be the difference between a 4WD vehicle owner getting out on their own, or having to call for a very expensive tow home.
There are a few things shops can do to help customers choose the right winch for their vehicles, from finding the right capacity, to selecting a winch with the desired amount of features.
One of the most often asked questions about winches is how to select the correct capacity for a buyer’s vehicle. Warn Industries uses this formula:
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) x 1.5 = minimum pulling capacity
For example, if a vehicle has a GVWR of 5,000 pounds., multiply that figure by 1.5 to get the minimum capacity, which in this example, would be 7,000 pounds. Warn offers three winches in an 8,000 pound capacity, which would be perfect for this application, as the formula will provide the minimum capacity, so rounding up is generally acceptable. A vehicle’s GVWR is often found on a sticker in the vehicle’s door jamb.
Wire vs. Synthetic Rope
Nearly all winches will include winch rope. For decades, winches only came with steel rope. However, in the past several years, there’s been a trend toward polyethylene synthetic rope. Both options offer pros and cons, so finding the right one for each customer is important.
Steel rope is extremely durable and abrasion-resistant. It’s not only good for vehicle recovery, but also useful in utility applications where a customer might be skidding logs or moving heavy machinery in high-abrasion environments, such as construction sites.
Steel rope, however, can develop sharp barbs, is more difficult to spool back onto a winch drum, and can store more potential energy under tension compared to synthetic rope. Most WARN winches with steel rope come equipped with a roller fairlead (A fairlead is a device used to help guide the rope back onto the winch’s drum).
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Synthetic rope is lightweight and easy to handle. It won’t hold as much potential energy as a cable under tension, won’t get the sharp barbs over time, and is easy to evenly re-spool after a recovery.
The downside of synthetic rope is it’s more prone to damage through abrasion and requires a bit more maintenance, such as regular cleaning, to prevent grit from damaging the line. Synthetic rope generally fetches a premium price compared to winches equipped with steel.
All WARN winches equipped with synthetic rope come with a large-radius hawse fairlead instead of rollers.
If someone has a winch with steel rope but wants to upgrade to synthetic rope, that can be done. However, the drum should be free of burrs and the roller fairlead should be replaced with a new, smooth, large-radius hawse-style fairlead such as the WARN Epic Fairleads.
ZEON and ZEON Platinum winches by WARN feature full IP68 waterproofing.
Whether it’s wireless operation, waterproofing, or thermometric indicators, there are a host of performance features that will differentiate winches. In addition, things such as line speed and amp draw can lead buyers to specific products.
Several WARN winches, such as the ZEON and ZEON Platinum units, offer full IP68 waterproofing to keep the elements out. The classic M8274-50 offers the fastest line speed for quick recoveries. The massive 16.5ti and 16.5ti-s winches feature a thermometric indicator allowing the user to know if the winch is getting to hot after a difficult recovery. And the ZEON Platinum offers full wireless remote operation and provides info to the user about the vehicle’s battery drain, the winch’s motor temperature, and it can even control auxiliary accessories that plug into the winch.
Knowing what features the customer is looking for will help you sell them the right product for their rig.
The Right Rigging
While a winch is an excellent thing to have on its own, there are a host of rigging accessories that can help buyers get the most out of their winches. This includes accessory kits that bundle popular rigging accessories—straps, shackles, snatch blocks, and gloves—into a convenient package that serve as a great companion to a winch sale. All items are also available ala carte, too.
Other items, such as winch rope hooks and hook replacements—the WARN Epic Sidewinder is one example—that give options to buyers who may want to outfit their winches with different rope attachment methods.
Winches also allow for great add-on sales opportunities, too. Alongside accessory kits and hook replacements, some other accessories also go great with winches. Items such as winch covers, rope extensions, wireless remotes, winching gloves, and premium fairleads are some examples.
While a winch might be a basic tool—and electric motor with a drum and rope—knowing how to help sell the product through its features and benefits will mean more customers in the door and more money in the till at the end of the transaction.