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How To Wire A Winch Solenoid

Most people don’t know how to wire a winch solenoid, and so they find themselves having to call a car mechanic to fix the issue. But when you are in a hurry, having proper knowledge of winch solenoid wiring can save you a lot of time and money.

By following some simple steps on accessing the universal solenoid, you can tend to your car all by yourself. Here is how you will do it.

Before getting into the steps, it is important to keep some crucial points in mind.

  • The solenoid is what helps to manage the electric current from the car battery.
  • Winch solenoid uses electromagnetic power to turn on the winch motor. Through this method, the car’s battery and switch are protected from getting damaged.
  • Universal or standard winches are composed of a set of four solenoids. One pair works as forward and the other two as the reverse.
  • The typical structure and functionality of all winch solenoids are the same. But in the case of different winch brands, it is best to check pointers. Like, wiring diagram, winch solenoid setup instructions in the manual, and other online forums for proper guidance.

5 Steps To Wire Up A Winch Solenoid

Once you understand the general concept of wiring a winch solenoid, you will pretty much get the idea too, for ones that are not of standard design. So without further ado, let’s get right into the steps.

Step 1: Safety Precautions

Always remember to keep the car’s ignition off when attempting to wire the winch solenoid. The current from the battery and the ignition of the car can easily cause sparks and even flames, which is extremely dangerous.

Another important matter to consider is that the negative ends of the battery cables should not be placed too close to the car battery when left idle.

Step 2: Set Up Your Work Area

Remove the hood of your car, and then release the winch clutch. Then locate the area where you feel the solenoid should be mounted.

Step 3: Identify Solenoid Box Components

You will see two points at the top of the solenoid box – a positive terminal and a negative terminal. The corresponding ends on the battery will align and connect with these terminals.

There will be two more terminals (positive and negative) located at the side of the solenoid box or at the bottom side of it. These will align with the terminals on the winch. 

To connect to the “In” and “Out” ends of the winch cable, you will find two other rods at the top side of the solenoid box. Most of the time, these rods are labeled, but if not, you can figure it out for yourself by test connecting them. You can also check the user’s manual to see if the cables are depicted and labeled.

Positive ended cables on the solenoid box are red in color, and the negative or ground ones are black. These color codes are easy to discern and remember, so this is an easy part of the step. 

There are two red cables extending from the solenoid. One of them connects to the battery’s positive terminal and takes in power from the battery. The other red cable connects to the winch’s positive terminal and provides power to the winch.

Step 4: Locate the Mount Area

In most cases, the solenoid box is already mounted on top of the winch. But if it isn’t, you will need additional long wires to connect it to the car battery.

Step 5: Connect

There are several sub-steps you need to follow to complete the wiring connections:

  • Connect the Grounding Wire

Take the grounding wire from the solenoid and connect it to the winch. Then, on the same rod, connect the negative end of the battery to the winch. The negative points of the solenoid and battery are now linked.

Connecting the Grounding Wire of winch Solenoid
  • Connect the Positive Terminal

If you want to add an in-line circuit breaker, you can connect it with the solenoid’s red cable connecting to the positive terminal of the battery.

  • Get Rid of Unnecessary Components

with the process while you are wiring the winch solenoid to the battery.

If you notice that the wires are dirty, carefully have them cleaned beforehand. The extra dirt can create a layer and increase the resistance of the linkage, thus causing overheating.

  • Connect the Cables Accordingly

Go through the user’s manual, and connect the cables on the solenoid to the winch, accordingly. The winch will usually have color-coded lugs for an easier setup and to avoid confusion.

Connect the Cables of winch Solenoid
  • Adjust and Confirm

Carefully adjust the solenoid cables to the lugs on the winch till they are fully set in place. Make sure not to connect the cables too tightly, as it can potentially ruin the solenoid.

Confirm that the connections are properly in place by checking the user’s manual. 

And there you have it – your winch solenoid is successfully wired with the battery! Now you can use the winch as it is and pull out your car from its stuck position with reduced effort.

The Endnote

The sight of the solenoid box, winch, car battery, and all those terminals and cables may appear to be intimidating at first. But in order to know how to wire a winch solenoid, the key lies in being able to identify all the components very well.

By all means, it is not necessary to memorize all the steps, as the user’s handbook will provide the appropriate guidance. You can also check online video tutorials for better visuals, which will help to better identify the main components in the whole wiring process.

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