How to Install ATV Winch in 3 Easy Steps

Whether you want to make an ATV for work to help you around the farm or simply want the ability to pull heavy loads or get unstuck out of tough spots, mounting a winch on your ATV is a great decision. There are many uses to having a winch mounted on your four-wheeler, and if you can afford to buy one, you should definitely do it. Especially since installing winches on ATVs is not complicated at all.

Installing an ATV winch is not very challenging. Below you can find a simplified overview of the winch installation process for all types of four-wheelers:

  1. Install the winch mounting plate;
  2. Mount the winch on the plate (including the rollers and cable hook);
  3. Wire the winch.

This is an overview of the winch installation process for ATVs. Keep reading because I will go into detail for every step and showcase the beginner mistakes that you need to avoid.

infographic explaining how to install ATV winch

How to Install ATV Winch: Complete Step-by-Step Guide

ATV winched next to a tree

In general, it shouldn’t take you longer than 40 minutes to one hour to install a winch. The real tricky part is doing the wiring. However, you don’t have anything to worry about because I will show you how to do it by explaining the process in great detail. With that said, let’s jump right into it and learn how to install an ATV winch in three easy steps.

#1 The Preparation

Whether you have a 2022 Honda FourTrax Ricon or a big Yamaha Grizzly ATV, you will need to begin by preparing the ATV for the winch installation. I want to highlight that ATV models have different winch requirements. This is why I advise everyone first to check their ATV’s owner manual to see what type of winches they can use. There is a wide variety of ATVs, and therefore, we can’t have a universal winch mounting plate.

After determining which type of winch your ATV uses and you buy a kit, you need to begin by preparing the four-wheeler for the installation. This is done by removing plastic parts from the front bumper to make room for the winch mounting plate. The winch installation manual will tell you exactly which parts you need to remove.

Sidenote: I want to mention that if you are replacing a winch, then you can skip this step because you already have a mounting plate installed.

#2 Installing the Winch on the Mounting Plate

Now that you have removed the plastic parts required to make room for the mounting plate and installed it, the next step is to install the winch install itself. Usually, winches are fixed to mounting plates with four M8 x 25mm bolts. The bolts will be bundled with the winch installation kit you purchased.

A useful tip for installing the winch on the mounting plate is to first loosely tighten the bolts. The reason behind this is that you don’t want to keep unscrewing the bolts until you get the perfect alignment. However, you need to tighten them once the alignment of the winch looks okay.

#3 Wire the Winch

Wiring the winch is not complicated. In fact, I guarantee that you will be able to wire the winch to your ATV in less than fifteen minutes. You just have to carefully follow all the steps I present, and you will be good to go. I know that wiring can seem overwhelming when you first see the winch wiring kit, and this is why I will explain how to do it in multiple and easy-to-understand steps:

  1. Connect the positive cable to the winch. As a general rule, the positive cable for the winch is colored red. In order to attach it, you will need to strip the wire’s insulation and connect it to the winch’s terminal using pliers.
  2. Connect the negative cable to the winch. This cable is usually colored black, and just like the positive one, you will need to strip the insulation and connect it to the terminal located on the winch.
  3. Now, you can begin routing the cables toward the battery. It’s best to consider using zip ties to secure the cables in place.
  4. Connect the positive cable (red one) to the battery using plies;
  5. Connect the negative cable (black one) to the battery using plies;
  6. Install the fuse holder on the positive cable between the winch and the battery. This is required because the fuse holder will protect the winch from electrical overload.
  7. Insert the fuse into the fuse holder. It’s very important to make sure that the fuse rating is correct for the winch’s power requirements in order to prevent short circuits.
  8. Now that the wiring is finished, it’s time to test the winch. You should make sure that it works properly.

Tools Required to Install an ATV winch set:

Below you can find a list of all tools you need to install ATV winch sets:

  • Socket set – You’ll need a socket set with different sizes of sockets to remove and install bolts and nuts.
  • Allen wrenches – Allen wrenches or hex keys are necessary to tighten bolts and nuts in tight spaces where sockets can’t reach.
  • Screwdrivers – Both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers may be required to remove and install screws.
  • Pliers – Pliers can come in handy when working with small parts or crimping wires.
  • Wire cutters and strippers – These tools are essential for cutting and stripping wires during the wiring process.
  • Electrical tape – Electrical tape can be used to insulate and protect wires from abrasion and moisture.
  • Zip ties – Zip ties are useful for securing wires and cables in place.
  • Drill – A drill may be necessary to make holes in the ATV for mounting the winch and winch control.
  • Hammer – A hammer can be used to tap in bolts or to make small adjustments to the ATV.
  • Safety equipment – Gloves and safety glasses are necessary to protect your hands and eyes during the installation process.

Having these tools will make the installation process much smoother. In case you are missing some, you can usually find them at most hardware stores or online retailers.

Video Guide

Do you have an easier time following video instructions? In that case, I recommend you check out the YouTube video linked below from the channel “Navigate Offroad”:

Do All ATVs Support Winches?

Sadly, not all ATVs support winches. Some ATVs are made for speed and for having fun on the track. This is why manufacturers didn’t leave any room to install an ATV winch mounting plate. This is why it’s always advised to consult your owner’s manual before ordering a winch for your ATV. It might not be compatible at all.

Final Words

Modifying your ATV can indeed seem daunting at first. However, I am confident you can install any winch kit on your ATV by following the complete step-by-step guide I presented today. Remember to take safety precautions and also follow the instructions included in the winch installation manual. If you have any other questions about the process, you can get in touch with me at

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts. You can reach me at if you want to get in touch.

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