The simplest way to decide how much load capacity you need for your winch is to look at your ATV’s weight.
Take the maximum gross vehicle weight, which includes the weight of any cargo, fluids, and the rider, and multiply it by 1.5 to get the ideal load capacity of a suitable winch.
Sometimes, the manufacturer will not list a maximum gross vehicle weight. While unfortunate, you can quickly work it out yourself.
Take the weight of the vehicle, which will always be listed in the specifications, then add the weight of a full fuel tank, the cargo you would load onto the ATV, and your weight.
Added together, you now have the maximum gross vehicle weight, though you should add a few pounds for safety.
For ATVs up to around 850 CC, a 2500 lb winch will usually be sufficient. But sometimes, you need to account for extreme situations.
If you get your ATV stuck in some serious mud, you will need a more powerful winch. While the weight of the ATV continues to play a significant role, you will be fighting more powerful forces if your ATV ends up submerged in a mud pool.
The suction of the mud adds to the apparent weight of the ATV, so you need to account for the added apparent load.
We recommend that, rather than multiplying the gross vehicle weight by 1.5, you double it instead. The extra capacity will help you deal with extreme situations which, after all, is why you have a winch in the first place.
We hope this guide has helped you decide if a 2500 lb winch will be enough for your ATV.
The chances are that it will be fine, but it pays to account for extreme situations so make sure you perform the calculations before you buy.
If you have any comments or questions about this guide, please feel free to leave them in the section below.