Even if the car is live, you’ll be able to pull it straight and make your life a lot easier. Unfortunately, with so many products on the market it can be hard to pick just one. But we’ve got you covered and will help you make an informed decision on this vital piece of hardware.
Below are our recommendations for the 4 best car hauler winches on the market:
Superwinch 1475301 S7500 SR 24V 7500 lb Winch
- Superwinch 1585202 LP8500 Winch Gen II 12 VDC 8500lbs/3856kg, steel hawse, handheld remote
- Price: $411.24
- Price as of 10/01/2020 04:04 PDT(more info)
Superwinch is the one name that you’ll hear as soon as you start asking about winches. This is a synthetic rope winch with a maximum capacity of 7500lbs, making it ideal for using on your trailer with light to medium heavy vehicles. The rope is a nice touch, and it’s easily mounted on your car hauler for maximum effectiveness.
It pulls at a pretty impressive 16.5 feet per minute with its 3.6 horsepower motor (see full specs). You’ll definitely be paying for the extra quality and utility you get for this winch, but if you can afford it you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better. It’s among the best car trailer winches around.
WARN 96800 8,000 lb Winch
- WARN 96800 VR8 12V Electric Winch with Steel Cable Rope: 5/16" Diameter x 94' Length, 4 Ton (8,000 lb) Capacity
- Price: $489.99
- Price as of 09/30/2020 10:09 PDT(more info)
WARN produces high quality winches, and this steel cable winch is rated at an impressive 8,000lbs. You’ll also get a 94-inch cable attached to the remote, allowing you to stand clear just in case things start to look dicey while you’re pulling the car on.
The weight rating might be a bit much for most people (see full specs), but if you’re looking at hauling some heavier vehicles up a steep sloped ramp to your trailer you’ll be glad for the extra power. Best of all, it’s a fraction of the cost of many equivalent winches.
Superwinch 1140232 Winch 2 Go 12V 4000SR Portable Winch System
- Superwinch 1140232 Winch 2 Go 12V 4000SR Portable Winch System (4000lb with Synthetic Rope, Pulley Block, Gloves, Straps and D-Shackles)
- Price: $443.63
- Price as of 09/30/2020 10:09 PDT(more info)
If you’re looking for a budget, high-quality system to get things on your trailer, then you need look no further. While the cost might seem kind of steep for a 4,000lb winch, the whole kit together actually doubles the weight capacity and it gives you everything you need to make sure you can pull the car up from anywhere.
The kit includes everything you need, including shackles, a quick connect for the battery, to straps. It’s all there and it’ll keep you from having to search around to find the perfect gear to outfit your trailer for cars. It should be on anyone’s list of the best car hauler winches for the money.
Smittybilt 97495 XRC Winch – 9500 lb. Load Capacity
- Smittybilt GEN 2 XRC Winch | 9,500 Pound Load Capacity
- Price: $268.52
- Price as of 10/01/2020 05:33 PDT(more info)
While it’s not a Superwinch, this Smittybilt is a best seller for a solid reason: it’s the perfect balance between price and quality. With a 6.6 horsepower motor and a high weight capacity, it’s perfect for getting any vehicle you need to up on the trailer bed and you’ll even be able to pull lighter vehicles out of bad situations with it.
It’s also waterproof to a pretty high degree, coming with an IP67 rating. Take it anywhere and enjoy the powerful motor, go with this option from Smittybilt to make your car hauling a lot easier without breaking the bank. It’s one terrific car trailer winch.
The Best Car Hauler Winches: Synthetic Rope vs. Steel Cable
If you’ve grown up around winches but haven’t been paying attention to the tech for the last few decades then you might not be aware of synthetic rope.
It’s not the nylon stuff that most of us think of when we hear the word rope. Instead, it’s made of polyethylene and it’s extremely strong. In fact, it’s generally rated higher than steel cable of the same diameter which is pretty impressive overall.
It also costs a good deal more, but you’ll see the following advantages over steel cable:
- Less kinking of the line
- Less dangerous if it breaks as it stores less energy when stretched
- More “supple” allowing it to be moved without cable’s signature stiffness
- No anti-rust maintenance needed on the line
- Can be field repaired in a pinch
Of course, steel has its own advantages, including the following:
- Steel is better in rough terrain, which doesn’t matter for a car hauler much but makes a difference for a recovery winch used for off-roading
- More durable overall
Which you choose to go with is up to you, but if you go with synthetic try to find a way to keep it out of direct sunlight when it’s not in use.
The Rolling Load Factor in Winches
Since a car hauler winch’s use is much less strenuous than that of a recovery winch, you actually might not need a super high weight rating. That said, you’ll definitely want to ensure that you’re able to at least haul the weight of the car itself because slopes and loose gravel or sand make things weigh more than they’d seem.
Overall, a rolling load generally comes out to around ¼ of the weight of the vehicle in most cases. This is just a general rule of thumb the actual factors are extremely varied and include tire load, terrain, and slope. So just aim to make sure you have at least as much weight as the vehicle you’re planning on hauling.
For the most part, however, as long as you have the capacity to haul your vehicle as dead weight, you’ll be good to go.
Winches – The Takeaway
Your options are pretty good in the modern world, but there are really only three main factors you need to look at:
- Capacity of the winch should be equal to or greater than the vehicles you want to haul
- Whether you want to go with synthetic rope or steel cable
- What the warranty on the winch looks like
Once all of that is in order, then you’ll be good to go.
We hope that we’ve helped you decide which is the best car hauler winch for your trailer. Pick one out, get it mounted, and enter a whole new world of convenience. Good luck!
Founder of Mechanicalcaveman.com, Beau is an unrepentant tool enthusiast and, sporting deadlift-callused hands and incongruously a beer belly, all-around macho guy. When he doesn’t know re tools, he consults with his handyman and car-repairman buds to give you well-reasoned and cutting-edge info. Email him.