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What Size Winch For Car Trailer? Choose the Best Size for Your Car

A car trailer is vital to the automotive sector because of the growth of SUVs and other large vehicles. Thus, there are many recreational and practical uses for trailer winch kits; as towing a car with a trailer has advantages, but one needs the right winch.

For the first time, there comes a question- what size winch for car trailer? It can be confusing to decide which to purchase because car trailers come in different sizes and need different types of winches to support them, just like any other vehicle. This article will discuss the different sizes and types of winches necessary for car trailers so that one can make an informed decision when selecting a winch for their trailer.

What Size Winch for the Car Trailer?

what size winch for a car trailer

For a racecar trailer, one will need a winch that can handle the weight and torque of the car. A good size for a racecar trailer winch is around 5,000 lb capacity or more. Check the winch’s manual to find the size of the trailer and car.

When choosing the right winch for a race car trailer, there are a few things to consider. The size of the winch will dictate how much pulling power it can generate and the trailer’s weight capacity. To help one choose the right size winch for their needs, here is a list of common car trailer dimensions and corresponding winch sizes. Winches are an important part of many machines for trailer pulling, lifting, building roads, and lifting mines. Winch are:

  • An electric car trailer winch is easy to set up and keep up.
  • It works very well and is very reliable.
  • Goods of the highest quality cost almost nothing.
  • It has a mode that lets one move slowly and normally.
  • A large drum rope capacity gives an individual more options for how high they can lift or how far they can pull.

Winch to Pull Car Onto Trailer

The winch size can significantly affect the required pulling force in winches for car trailer pulling. A small trailer or one that requires little muscle power to move a small, lightweight winch will suffice. 

  • First, determine the combined weight of the car and trailer. 
  • Multiply that number by the engine’s horsepower
  • Lastly, divide that number by 2 to determine the approximate watts you’ll need to pull their car trailer. 
  • If one has a car that weighs 1000 pounds and a trailer that weighs 2000 pounds, they would need 3200 watts (1000 x 2000/2).
  • Find a suitable winch model online or at a local automotive supply store once it is determined wattage is needed. Such as winch for trailer harbor freight.  
  • Choose the model that best suits your needs and budget from a wide selection of manual and automatic winches.

Will a 2500 LB Winch Pull a Car on a Trailer?

Winches typically have a lifting capacity about 10% greater than the weight listed on them, so, for instance, a 2500-pound winch can lift 2750 pounds. The average weight of a small travel trailer is about 2,800 pounds. It usually ranges between 1,200 and 3,900 pounds unloaded. Depending on the trailer, the gross vehicle weight ranges from 1,900 pounds to 4,500 pounds. A 2500lb winch is perfect for pulling a car on a small trailer. It’s strong enough to tow the vehicle but not so heavy that it causes too much strain on the suspension.

What Is a Winch and Why Do You Need One for a Car Trailer?

A winch is a device to gain leverage or help pull something uphill.  A car trailer’s main function is to tow the vehicle behind it. Tow cables are attached to the Trailer and the Car and pulled together by a winch. This action lifts the Trailer off the ground and pulls the car along.

The size of a car trailer’s winch depends on its weight and the terrain it will be traveling on. Most car haulers and tilt trailers require the 9.5k winch, and goosenecks, pintles, and heavy tilt trailers require the 12k/17.5k winch.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Winch

how big of a winch for a car trailer

Various types of winches are available on the market, each with strengths and weaknesses. It is important to select the right one for the job at hand. Here are some things to consider when selecting a winch for the car trailer:

  • The weight of the trailer and its contents.
  • The type of road surface being traveled over.
  • The intended use of the winch.
  • The bolt pattern on a winch affects how easily it can be attached to the trailer hitch.
  • The weight of the trailer and the towing vehicle will determine which winch is appropriate. 
  • The budget is available.

Types of Winches

Different types of winches are used for different purposes. There are three types of winches: the rope or cable type, the hydraulic type, and the pneumatic type.

  • Most people and most budgets choose rope or cable winches. Ropes and cords are used to pull things. They are useful for quick jobs like getting a rabbit out of its hole.
  • Hydraulic winches use the pressure of the fluid to pull the ropes or cables on the winch. This is helpful for bigger jobs, like pulling a trailer behind a car.
  • Pressurized air is used to power pneumatic winches. It is perfect for jobs that require a lot of torque, like moving heavy equipment.

How to Calculate the Size of Winch You Need

If a car trailer is 10 feet long and they plan to pull a load of 10,000 pounds, one will need a winch with a pulling capacity of at least 12,000 pounds. A truck that weighs more needs a stronger winch. At least 1.5 times the car’s weight must be the most winch can pull. To find the empty weight, start with the gross vehicle weight and multiply it by 1.5.

Also Read: How Much Does A GMC Acadia Weigh

Tips for Maintaining and Using Your Winch Safely and Effectively

best size winch for car trailer

When using a winch on the car trailer, it is important to keep safety in mind. Here are some tips for maintaining and using a winch safely and effectively:

  1. Use the correct size winch for the trailer and vehicle. A smaller winch may not be able to handle the weight of a larger trailer, and vice versa.
  2. Always wear proper safety equipment when using a winch, including a helmet, eye protection, and gloves.
  3. Please make sure the cables are properly tensioned before pulling on them. Over-tensioning can lead to broken cables or other mechanical problems.
  4. Be aware of the surroundings while using a winch; don’t pull too hard on the cable if obstacles could damage the vehicle or trailer. Park carefully when not in use to avoid creating unnecessary strain on the cables


1. What is a good winch for a car trailer?

Most car haulers and tilt trailers only need a 9.5k winch, but gooseneck, pintle, and big tilt trailers need 12k/17.5k winches.

2. How much weight can a 3000 lb winch pull?

Pulley or Winch with a 3,000-lb capacity:
– Estimated 3,000-lb towing capacity (1361 kg).
– Length/Diameter of the Drum: 2.0″/2.9″ (52mm/74mm).
– Line 3/16-inch-diameter, aircraft-grade wire, 50 feet long (15-m, 5-mm diameter).
– Restrictions based on a mechanical mechanism
– Brakes with a disc

3. How much weight can a 2500 lb winch pull?

A winch with a given rating, such as a 2500 lb. rating, can lift an additional 10%, or 2750 pounds.

4. How much weight can a 2000 lb winch pull?

With a rated line pull of 2,000 pounds, a rolling load of 10,050 can be pulled up a 6-degree slope. However, this ability will decrease as the angle of the slope increases.

Also Read: How Much Does a Chevy Silverado Weigh


A winch is expensive, so one should plan and take time. A few points should be kept in mind:

  • The placement of winches can range greatly, depending on personal preference and available space. 
  • Also, depending on the load one needs to shift, one might get by with a shorter cable or even without one.
  • Each individual has unique requirements. Thus, care must be used while picking on the ideal winch model and size.
  • To ensure that nobody gets hurt, ensure the installation is done right. 

So, there is a quick guide on selecting a suitable winch for a vehicle trailer. It’s important to pay attention and consider these details if anyone wants a proper winch for their car trailer; otherwise, it can be regrettable.

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