What Size Winch for Car Trailer? Big or Small?

When you intend to buy a winch, among so many questions, one is what size winch for car trailer. On the market, quality winches know no bounds. But the right pick is a big deal. If you are an entrance winch user, this post is for you.

Winch selection depends on multiple quality factors. Size doesn’t matter pulling heavy weight while other quality factors are missing. The electrical winch is a motor-generated power tool run by electromagnetic force. So, the performance of a winch mostly depends on the production of its pulling power.

On the contrary, though the motor generates sufficient power to pull large vehicles and heavy loads, it comes with a low-quality light rope. In that circumstance, the operation will also be unsuccessful because the combination of both winch power and the rope’s pulling strength doesn’t match.

Likewise, if you select a winch like a workhorse with heavy pulling power up to 12,000 lbs for ATV or UTV, it will also be unwise. This winch might be perfect for heavy vehicles like trucks to pull extreme loads.

So, you guys understood how funny circumstances might appear before you if it is wrongly selected. Let’s now talk about how we can choose our winch wisely and learn what size trailer winch I need.

Wise Winch Size Selection of Car Trailer

Before we go, let’s find out which other factors revolve around winch size. If we could find out and consider those factors that directly or indirectly influence winch performance irrespective of winch size, we could determine what size winch for a car trailer is best.

The significant components of trailer winch that reflect winch performance are listed here. Let’s now learn how they impact the quality performance of a winch.

Winch’s Hauling Capacity

One of the most significant features of a winch is its pulling power. The pulling capacity of winches may vary depending on the type of task and the size of the vehicles.

The standard capacity for marine grade weights ranges from 5,000 lbs to 12,000 lbs or more. Typically, 2,000 lbs to 4,500 lbs are perfect for general pulling loads.

Small size cars, UTVs, or ATVs require a winch with more or less 4,500 lbs, while trucks and pick up need standard 10,000 lbs winches. However, more pulling force may be applicable if the vehicles load heavyweight.

Rope Size and Pulling Strength

The sturdy and heavy load capacity wire is expected with a quality trailer winch. The length of the rope is also a key point to look into while choosing a winch.

Usually, two types of wire are available for winching technology; synthetic rope and steel cable. The synthetic rope is enough to pull small cars. But pulling heavy loads of trucks or vehicles like this will require you more sturdy cables. So, look carefully if the rope is suitable for your car trailing.

The long rope is better since it will help you pull from a distance. Fulcrumlifting has described here how you can measure the wire rope.

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Winch Size

Winches are of different sizes and qualities. Winch size also determines its load capacity and compatibility with your car. Usually, heavy load capacity winches are a bit large and come with at least a 50′ long rope. People use this winch for pulling heavy-loaded pick up or trucks.

You may face a bit of discomfort installing large winches. It takes more room for installation and is a bit complex. However, the instructional manual will always be by your side to help. Here’s how a flatbed trailer winch mounts on a car trailer.

So, when you’ll go for a winch, think one more time about whether your car needs the winch at all.


As a conscious purchaser, you also have to be alert about its installation. If you buy the wrong size winch, it might not fit your vehicle because the large size winch needs more space to install.

So, keep in understanding that installation may also be hazardous if it doesn’t fit the vehicle.

Vehicle Size and Gross Weight

The most crucial attribute of a right-sized winch mostly depends on the vehicle size and its gross weight. If you know the exact size of your car and its gross weight, it will be easy for you to pick the right size winch.

You might notice two factors are lying right here. I think it is necessary to discuss this in detail.

Gross weight rigorously determines not merely the weight of your car. It denotes the weight of both the vehicle and the things loaded on it.

So, when you choose a winch, carefully read if it covers the average weight of your car and the goods.

Whether It Is for Pulling, Lifting, or Boat Trailing

Winches are of various types, different sizes, and do multiple tasks. Winches are used for pulling stuck vehicles on mud or rock. Some other type of winch can lift heavy objects vertically. People also use them for boat trailing as well.

For those diversified job nature, you will find some of them are heavy and powerful, and other types are small and compact for low light jobs.

So, you’ll easily identify which one is the right fit for you.

Blend of Vehicle Size and Winch Power

So, you see, no unparallel combination will give you a perfect match. If you choose a large size with a heavy load capacity winch for a small car like a Polaris ranger, it will not be the right match. Instead, pick a powerful winch when you have a caravan or a trailer.

Also, be wise not to do the same type of opposite thing. Do not select a low load capacity winch for a heavy load carrying trailer. It can’t draw your trailer at all.

What Size Winch for Car Trailer Explained

Typically 9.5k winch is a standard size for most car trailers, while a 12k winch is suitable for heavy-duty trailers. The best practice is to select between 9k to 12k size winches for sound performance.

The best way is to balance the winch’s pulling force and the car trailer load capacity. Don’t forget to measure the weight of the trailer itself and the carrying loads. Make a balance between the gross weight of the car trailer and the pulling capacity of the winch.

Experts say that a winch should have almost 30% more pulling power than the gross weight of the vehicles. And 50% more towing capacity is not at all ridiculous. However, a quality winch should have better pulling capacity than the minimum level.

Make sure the car trailer has sufficient space to set up the winch in place.

Final Words

It’s now your turn to conclude finalizing the right size winch for your car trailer. Everything you know now what factors is implying winch size.

Our suggestion is to know your vehicle first. It will give you knowledgeable hints to decide what size winch for a car trailer. When you’ll go for purchasing one, emphasize the quality-price ratio as well.

A perfect size winch will provide extra benefits, which you might miss from being imbalanced.

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