How To Wire A Winch On A Trailer?

Wiring an electric winch mostly depends on your choice, winch model/brands, and its types (light-duty or heavy). Most users mount a winch on a trailer or the rear of their vehicles. For some users, it becomes user-friendly when it gets mounted in front.

Some brands emerge with only a front mount option, while some opposition comes with rear-facing. However, we are sharing a step-by-step guide on how to wire a winch on a trailer so you can easily do it yourself.

Perhaps your budget is tight, and you want not to spend on overpriced professional mounting services. Or, maybe there are no such services available within your area, and you are a little stubborn to learn and do it yourself.

Whatever the circumstances, this guide will give you a clear view, and no unnecessary mounting services will require in the future. So, let’s get started to see what’s hidden inside it.

Before you go and when right now you are reading this article, we presume you have gone through our previous guide on how to test a winch solenoid. If not, we highly recommend you check out that. However, congratulations if you’ve already done it.

The Flow of the Article:

  • Plan The Mounting Profile
  • Personal Protective Gears
  • Mounting Tools & Equipment (Mounting Process)
  • Electrical Tools (Wiring Process)
  • And The End

The wise thing is to read the manual carefully before you proceed. You can find it out of the box of the winch you purchased. It will be helpful to know all the information the winch device comes with and the diagram it has provided. After all, companies want their users to feel at ease installing their products.

<<|see winch options|>>

  1. Best winch for jeep tj
  2. Best winch for polaris ranger 1000
  3. Best boat trailer winch reviews

Plan of Preference and Mounting Profile

Ask Yourself:

  • Where to place the winch in a vehicle? (Front guard, rear bumper, gooseneck on the trailer, or custom bracing)
  • What troubles may the winch face?
  • Check out Load vs. Winch weight capacity
  • Are they low slopes or steep terrains?
  • How often do I use it, occasionally or professionally?
  • Do I use a vehicle battery or an auxiliary?


  • Personal Protective Equipment“Victory without casualty is always expected” – no benefits come from DIY if it ends with missing an eye or a finger left. SAFETY FIRST is a must regardless of size and task.
    • Safety Gloves – Choose a material that is non-conductive and will offer good protection for light metal and electrical work.
    • Safety Glasses and Safety Mask – Go blind or get breathing problems when not well-equipped. The safety glass and mask can save you from such probabilities. Be sure you have those.
  • Tools for Metal Tasksplease disregard if you have decided to have your mounting by a professional.
    • Marking pen
    • Ruler
    • Wrench
    • Ratchet Set
    • Drill with different drill bit options
    • WD-40
  • Tools for Electrical Wiring Tasks
    • Electrical Tape
    • Wirecutter/Wire stripper

    Mounting Process: How to Wire a Winch on a Trailer

    The mounting ideas come to mind to attach the winch to the railing of the trailer. If the trailer has a steel railing, use a receiver hitch to mount the winch out there. You can also use a mounting plate on the floor bed to attach the winch to your trailer. In that case, a U-bolt is handy to keep it steady.

    Sometimes, additional steel mounting requires welding. Be cautious since there’s no room for any error. The perfect placement of a winch eliminates the chances of breakage or accidents.

    Upon purchasing your winch pack, it may or may not come with bolts and screws. In the case of 2nd option, you may need to buy a winch attachment kit separately. It usually consists of a flat steel plate, marking templates, and different screw sizes.

  • 1. Marking and MeasuringTake your marking pen and mark on the spot where you plan to drill a hole on your bracket/mounting point. Take note of the material on your vehicle where you want to attach the winch. Be sure that part of the vehicle can winch the weight and marked spots are well centered.
  • 2. DrillingSelect a sized drill bit that corresponds to the size of the bolts. Firm and steadily make the holes on mounting points. Do it slowly so you can make adjustments.
    • Note: It is optional to make another hole beside the mount.
    • Tips: Are you wearing your safety goggles right now?
  • 3. SecuringOnce you’ve successfully completed step two, you may now attach the winch, bolts, and locknuts using a wrench or ratchet set.
    • Make sure you have used the washers.
    • Note: For posterity’s sake, insert the bolts from the bottom. It becomes easier to remove the lock nuts when detaching the winch. Check here winch installation process.
  • 4. Spray WD-40 on your bolt threads when everything is done. It will prevent rust due to being exposed to environmental elements. It will also make your bolts easier to remove even after years pass away.
  • Wiring Process:

    Before you go, consider if it is better to have it wired with the vehicle battery or a separate buy. Whichever the option, provide the following sources of power:

    • Car battery of at least 450 amperes 
    • 12V Electrical Alternator

    Winch Wiring When the Power Source is Vehicle’s Battery

    When on the winch

    • It’s just simple. Connect the power wire with the red post of the winch. The red generally indicates the positive battery indicator.
    • At the same time, connect the negative wire to the negative post of the winch. Usually, the black post of the battery indicates the negative power source of the car battery.

    It’s now time to connect both the wire connections directly from the winch to the engine. This way, power originates from the engine to transmit to the battery, and finally, it runs the winch. Be careful not to allow the wires near the hot zone while wiring.

    When under the hood

    • You’ll need to hook the winch’s positive lead to the vehicle’s positive battery connector.
    • Again, attach the winch’s negative ground post to the car battery.

    Winch Wiring When the Power Source is Auxiliary Battery

    It requires a 12V battery and must be parallel to the car battery. You’ll also need to install a battery isolator so that the power originates directly from the auxiliary battery.

    When on the winch

    • Follow the same process indicated for car batteries as the power source. Only take care connecting both the positive and negative leads to the auxiliary battery.

    When under the hood

    • Same way, connect them from the winch to the auxiliary battery, so it stops originating power directly from the vehicle’s battery.
  • Wireworkrequires a little bit of matchmaking and a lot of patience, especially when you attach the winch with a winch solenoid and switch. Detailing the wiring process via text is tedious. Here is a diagram that will take the inconvenience out of your wirework process:
  • Few Reminders when doing your wireworks:

    • Double-check the polarities of the batter connection upon which your wires connected. (Red=Positive, Black=Negative) Read more info here.
    • All the components (winch, winch solenoid, circuit breaker, switch, and car battery) have polarity indicators. Keep note of them.
    • Avoid laying your wires in any areas in/around your vehicle where it will be exposed to heat, moisture, moving vehicle parts, or environmental elements.
    • Do a final check to ensure no worn-out/ exposed wires and terminals. 
    • Remember to attach the grounding cord from your winch to a NON-conducting metal part of your vehicle before operating the winch.
    • Clean up your tools and dispose of all the garbage created.


    Congratulations! You are now at the end of this article! All you need to do now is to translate our words through your actions.

    Electricals and wiring can be a daunting task. And that is why most people would like to have it by professionals.

    However, we have it in detail and step by step so that it easily makes sense to you. Hopefully, this guide on the wiring process will guide you (or your friends) and help for future winch wiring.

    Related Posts

    1. How Big of Winch for Car Trailer?
    2. How to Get More Pulling Power from a Winch?
    3. Do You Need a Solenoid on a Winch?
    4. Best Budget Winch Reviews

    Leave a Comment