What Is a UTV Winch?

Dan Cavallari

A UTV winch is a device mounted to the front or rear of a utility task vehicle, or UTV. The UTV resembles a golf cart in many ways, but this vehicle is much more durable and able to handle heavier loads than a golf cart. It may hold two or four passengers, and very often features a bed or payload area. The UTV winch can be used to add versatility to this already useful light vehicle; the winch features a retractable cable wound around a pulley that is turned by a motor.

A UTV, or utility task vehicle, looks like a golf cart, but is more rugged and can carry heavier loads.
A UTV, or utility task vehicle, looks like a golf cart, but is more rugged and can carry heavier loads.

The motor is usually controlled by a handheld unit that is hardwired to the motor unit. In some cases, the UTV winch may be operated wirelessly, allowing a user more capability to move around the vehicle or otherwise avoid standing too close to the winch itself. When the user presses the control that turns the pulley in one direction, the cable can be fed out away from the vehicle. The user can then attach that cable to a heavy object or other vehicle by using the hook attached to the end of the cable. Once the UTV winch cable is properly secured, the user can then activate another button that turns the pulley in the other direction, thereby retracting the cable. This function can be used to pull the UTV forward, or to pull another object toward the UTV itself.

The UTV winch functions similarly to an ATV winch that is typically mounted to larger off-road vehicles. In many cases, in fact, the winch system is one and the same when compared to an ATV winch. Sometimes the UTV winch is much smaller, however, and it will only be capable of moving a certain load. ATV winches may be able to carry a heavier load, though the units are likely to be larger and heavier. In either case, the winch itself must be mounted to a solid part of the vehicle.

On a UTV, the winch may be mounded directly to the frame of the vehicle. On some larger vehicles, the UTV winch may be mounted on the front bumper, though the bumper will need to be secured properly to the frame to ensure it does not tear away from the rest of the vehicle while under load. Winches can also be mounted at the rear of a vehicle, though this configuration is far less common.

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