Recommended Winch for Loading Cars On and Off of a Flat Bed Trailer

Question:

Im looking for an inexpensive manual winch for moving cars on and off a flat trailer. I see you recommend Dutton-Lainson Hand Winch with TUFFPLATE Finish, Single Speed - 1,100 lbs. for moving loads on and off trailer. Does it come with a cable? Do you recommend another winch?

Expert Reply:

Pulling cars onto a trailer will undoubtedly require pulling the vehicle up an incline, which will add extra resistance to the equation. If you are pulling a rolling load, not dragging the car and no flat tires, up just a slight incline like a 3 degree slope the weight capacity of the winch can be multiplied by 6.67 times, see hand winch article, Winching on an Incline, which I have linked for you to review. A steeper incline causes more resistance and reduces the rolling load capacity of a winch.

So if you use the Dutton-Lainson Trailer Winch, # DL15103, with 1,100 lbs capacity and you are pulling a rolling load up a 3 degree slope, 6 inch rise in 10 feet, the winch is capable of 7337 lbs. I would recommend that you determine the degree of slope you will need to pull the car up, the gross weight of the car, and use the table in our article, see link, to determine which winch will work for your situation. I would select a winch that has at least 2 times the capacity of the weight of the vehicle for your particular trailer, so that it makes pulling the vehicle onto the trailer easier, and if you are ever parked on an incline you will have the extra capacity needed to over come a steeper loading angle.

You will need a cable, for the # DL15103 winch. Your winch cable should be rated for at least 1-1/2 times the winch rating, so the 3/16 inch hand winch cable, # DL24044, would be a good choice for this winch. The cable fastener is included with the # DL15103 hand winch.

My recommendation for a hand winch would be to use the Dutton-Lainson Trailer Winch, # DL15721, along with the Hand Winch Cable, # DL24102, and a DLB Series Brake Winch Ratcheting Replacement Handle, # DL70347.

The winch would have a rolling load capacity of 8,500 pounds at an 11 degree slope and the ratcheting handle, that can be used with this winch, will eliminate the need to put the winch on a pedestal so that the handle would not need to be rotated 360 degrees.

expert reply by:
Robert G

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