How to Repair a Winch Motor – Avoid These Things

With the increase in trend of off-roading activities and sports amongst the general public over the past few years, winches have started to gain their popularity and most of the people prefer to buy one before they take their vehicle for an adventure. This helps them out in the situations when the vehicle may get stuck, and gives great peace of mind as they know that there is always a gadget to help them out whenever they find themselves in such situations.

Understanding the essential components of a winch, including the motor, becomes crucial for enthusiasts. If you ever find yourself wondering, “How to Repair a Winch Motor,” having a basic knowledge of the motor’s workings can be invaluable when facing unexpected challenges during your off-road endeavors.

Though there are several different types of winches available in the market, but the most common ones are those with electric motors. It is a fact and we all know that electrical components are more prone to malfunction compared to mechanical ones, and their troubleshooting is usually also more complicated. Therefore, there is high chance that the motor of your winch may become problematic and not function correctly after some time even when you maintain your winch well.

When such a situation arises, you may find yourself confused not knowing what to do to get your winch back to the operational mode, and correcting the issue which has arisen in the winch motor. This is what we are here for! So today we will help you out diagnose the issue in your winch motor, and repair it on your own under most situations, so that it begins to operate normally once again. 

About the electric motor in your Winch

The motor in your electric winch is a simple, yet a very useful component. Similar to all electric machinery and most of the appliances, winches are also powered by electric motors which are based on electromagnets. These are energized by a battery source which could be through an auxiliary battery or via the internal battery in a vehicle.

The mechanism is simple. When the copper windings on the rotor are energized by the electricity supply, a magnetic field is generated. This magnetic field reacts to the one produced by energized windings in the stator. A torque is generated by this action as opposite magnetic polarities attract and the similar ones repel, which eventually transmits the power to the shaft and makes it turn.

If any of the component involved in this entire process stops functioning properly, the motor may not turn. For instance, the copper windings may not be energized due to lack of battery power or because of corrosion. There could be broken connections, failed solenoids or even a melted solder which may lead to such issues.

Repairing your Winch Motor

Causes of several issues lined to the motor can be eliminated by the bypassing of the solenoids, which leads to direct power being supplied to the motor. If the motor now turns, then you know that there is some issue with the power supply, winch control modules or maybe an incorrect setting on the remote control.

If the motor still does not turn after bypassing the solenoids, the diagnosis will then be specific to the internal connections of the motor, to the brushes or any other internal component. Now, in order to test a series wound motor, you have to remove the winch control, followed by disconnecting the electrical terminals. You will then connect the ground terminal of the winch motor to the ground terminal of a fully charged battery. This will be done using a heavy gauge insulated wire or a jumper cable.

After this, you will connect the terminal A to F2 using another heavy gauge jumper cable, and finally on touching terminal F1 to the positive end of the battery, the motor should turn. You can also test the motor in the opposite direction by inverting the connections, i.e. terminal A to F1 and the terminal F2 to the positive terminal of the battery. The motor should turn in this case as well if it is functioning fine.

If the above test of the motor gives a positive result, there is possibly a wiring problem between the battery and terminals in the ground or power connections. The issue could also be with the winch control system or the remote control. If the motor still does not work after ensuring all these connections are right, then it is likely to be the time to get it replaced.

Points to ensure before replacing your motor

Before making the decision to replace your old winch motor, you should first check that the wires that connect to the terminals within the motor housing are well intact. You should also check out for the brushes see if they still have some material sufficient to make contact with the commutator. If this is not the case, then your motor is likely to be malfunctioning because of the excessive wear of brushes.

Replacement of motor can prove to be a very expensive alternative, hence you should try out all the possibilities of diagnosing the issue in your winch and getting it repaired. Amazon is a very good online source for spare parts of winches and you can also find your desired motor for the winch there. You should take all possible precautions of keeping your motor safe from prolonged exposure to moisture, water and allow it to rest and cool when it over works.


We remind you to read out the instruction manual included with the winch before you start, so that you can understand all of its parts and the motor better. We hope that this article would prove to be useful and make the winch motor repair process easier for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What type of motor is used in a winch?

Winches use two types of DC motors, Permanent Magnet Motors and Series Wound Motors.

  1. Why does a winch need a solenoid?

A solenoid is needed to resist the high electricity draw required to crank the winch.

3. Can you power a winch with a battery charger?

Battery chargers can be used for powering a winch, as they withdraw power from the vehicle’s alternator and use it to charge the auxiliary battery for your winch.

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