How Much Should A Used Winch Cost?

Written by Benjamin | 1 Comment »

Shopping for a used winch can be a somewhat confusing experience.  Simply put, there are a ton of different used winch options out there and an equally lengthy list of prices to go with them.

When looking for a used winch, it helps to know exactly what you need before scouring online classifieds, Craigslist or eBay for a potential deal.  What size of winch fits on your vehicle or trailer?  How much horsepower do you need?  How strong of a line is required?  Do you need a remote controller?  Electric or hydraulic? Once you’ve narrowed down your used winch needs, then you can start to get into the nitty-gritty of what to expect in terms of pricing. 

Electric winches are by far the least expensive of the bunch, with 2,000 lb winches starting at the unbelievably low $100 mark and topping out around the $400 mark for 8,000 lb to 12,000 lb winches.

Make sure the used winch you are looking for includes all important components.

Once you start to shell out between $400 and $500 you can pick and choose between barely-used electric units and good-condition hydraulic winches.  Hydraulic winches at the $500 mark typically start around 10,000 lbs, and while paying more money will get you winches that are in nicer condition or have more features, you can generally pick up a 10,000 lb to 12,000 lb hydraulic winch for under $700.

Inspect each component carefully for sings of wear or damage.

Some folks make the mistake of buying a winch that is physically too large for their vehicle (something that you need to take into consideration when shopping for your own unit), and you can benefit from this by picking up a used winch that might have only ever been taken out of the box in an aborted attempt to mount it.  In other cases you’ll be dealing with winches that are missing a few components, such as the fairlead, hook, or control levers.  Many of these kinds of small parts are generic and others can be ordered directly from the manufacturer (such as Warn or Mile Marker), but don’t assume that this is the case in every instance.  Always check that you can cheaply source the parts you will need to make a winch complete before agreeing to a particular purchase.

This winch's seller didn't know much about it - not even how many lbs it was. Would you be comfortable buying a beat-up mystery winch?

Finally, make sure that the winch that you are considering buying used has all of the features that you need (reverse, manual brake and clutch, remote).  It’s also a good idea to ask the owner to demo the winch for you, if possible, and tell you more about its maintenance history (motor rebuilds, cable replacements).  A reality check about the overall visual impression that the winch makes is also important.  The seller could tell you as many tales as they want about how many times that particular winch saved their bacon out on the trail or pulled their boat up out of the water, but if it looks rusted, has crud built up around the cooling fins or has clearly taken more than a few knocks in its time it might be a good idea to look elsewhere.

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