Car Trailer Winches: Don’t Head to the Track Without One! 

Written by Elizabeth Puckett | Comment Now »

Auto transport for track cars, and even show cars, starts at the car trailer. What’s special about a car trailer for a track car is that it must have a winch, without one you could be facing a major pain on track day.

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Anticipate Mechanical Problems on Race Day 

When it comes to towing a track car/race car, go ahead and assume you will be leaving the event without a car that runs &/or drives without assistance. Sure, that’s not the best scenario, and you can hope all day long that nothing goes wrong, but it happens more often than not.

Avoiding hitting dividers and other cars is a great plan, but that’s not the only threat to the mobility of your car on race day. All it takes is a battery loosing the last bit of juice it had from all the stopping and restarting in the staging lanes to leave you stranded. Or maybe that u-bolt on your driveshaft decides that it’s had it leaving the tree. Any number of things could go wrong.

What’s the alternative to a winch equipped trailer? You could use that money you saved up for your summer vacation to have it towed home by a wrecking company. Or if you have a trailer without a winch, you could turn yourself into the laughingstock of the track by trying to push your car onto a trailer yourself (given the tires still roll freely). And if all else fails, you could fully stock an enclosed trailer with every tool and car part you could ever need to avoid having to buy a winch to take it to a different location.

So, maybe a winch just makes more sense when it comes to practicality and affordability?

Choosing a Car Trailer Winch

A car trailer winch is essential, there’s no easier and cheaper way to deal with emending breakdowns, or just plain breaks, at the track. All winches need to meet one criteria — they need to have the capacity/line capacity to pull the dead weight of your car, anything less could be extremely dangerous and cause more damage than you started with.

There are three different kinds of car trailer winches:

Electric Winches

This is the most convenient of all winches for auto transport. An electric winch does the pulling for you and can be a life (and arm!) saver when you’re in a hurry to get the car back to the garage and start fixing the problem. There’s many different variations in power and speed, and these models can be very expensive.

Hydraulic Design Winches

A hydraulic winch is powered by your motor and can run all day long as long as the engine is on. Unless you’re doing this on a professional level, hydraulic winches aren’t really necessary, but if you find a good deal on one, go for it! LIke the electric ones, hydraulic winches are sometimes quite costly.

Manual Winches

A manual crank winch is the most basic type of winch, and has been used for centuries. There are different styles and sizes, some require the user to do a cranking type motion, and others are ratchet style. The benefit to a man powered winch is that they’re almost always cheaper, are usually smaller, and some swear these styles are more reliable than the electric ones since there’s no battery to die or circuit boards/wiring to fry. It’ll take longer to get the car on the trailer, and you might have to but some muscle into it, but you’ll get it there regardless.

When it comes to car trailers, having some kind of winch is better than nothing. Even if you can’t afford the fastest or most powerful one, you’ll be glad to have some kind of backup if your race car should suddenly become a giant paperweight.

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