What Size Winch Do I Need For My Truck?


In Brief: What Size Winch Do I Need For My Truck?

The winch size needed for your truck depends on the gross vehicle weight rating of your vehicle. You can find it in the owner’s manual, or somewhere on the body of the truck. Once you have determined the GVWR, multiply it by 1.5 to attain the minimum winch size suitable for your truck.

If you are thinking of buying a winch for your truck, you must ensure that you get the right size and capacity.

A winch with an inappropriate pulling capacity will underperform.

Typically, you will need a winch with a pulling capacity between one and a half and twice the weight of your truck.

The weight rating of your truck that we are interested in when looking at winches is the gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle mass, often abbreviated to GVWR or GVM.

These are determined by the manufacturer and you will need to find out the exact number.

Rather than being the actual weight of the truck itself, the GVWR is the weight of a fully loaded truck, including cargo, passengers, and fuel.

To find the GVWR of your truck, you may have to search around a fair bit. It will always be listed somewhere, but it could be in one of any number of places.

Check on the driver-side door jamb, under the hood, and in the owner’s manual. The chances are that you will find it listed in one of these locations.

Once you have the GVWR of your truck, multiply it by 1.5 to find the minimum capacity of a suitable winch. If you need to round the number to a common winch pull capacity, then always round up to the next highest.

We have pre-calculated some of the most popular trucks in America and the winch capacity you should aim for in the following table.

Table 1 – Minimum and Ideal Winch Sizes for Popular US Trucks

TruckGVWR / lbsMin. Winch Capacity / lbsIdeal Winch Capacity / lbs
Toyota Pickup Truck (1983)480080009500
Toyota 4Runner (2009)533080009500
Toyota Tacoma (2009)535080009500
Toyota Tacoma (2017)5600950012000
Toyota FJ Cruiser (2007)5570950012000
Ford F250 Supercab (2008)100001500020000
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (2017)5600950012000

If your truck cannot be found on this list, you can either do the math yourself or you can find the closest entry to the truck you own and use that as a reference point.


We hope this guide has helped you understand how the size of your truck and the size of your winch relate to each other.

If you have any more questions about winches before you buy one, please feel free to leave them in the section below.

About Susan Brown

Susan and her husband own a mechanic shop. They do all the work themselves, from fixing cars to hunting for new customers. Susan is the brains of the operation; she writes articles on car repair-related topics based on her own experience. She loves writing about anything related to autos: diagnosing problems with cars, maintaining vehicles, and even how to choose a good mechanic!