How To Buy a Used Winch
Buying tips for vintage winders
A winch is a great tool, and when you need one, you really need one. That means you
need a winch you can count on because using it is usually your last resort. In today’s flooded market of inexpensive (dare we say cheap?) new winches, a great compromise between a $300 hot-off-theboat cheap winch and a better but more expensive new winch is to buy a used high-quality winch. We’d take a reliable, old, quality winch over a cheap one that smells like toxic off-gassed plastic any day. And given that with some looking and a little knowhow you can find a great used winch for a fraction of what a new high-quality one costs, why wouldn’t you buy a used one?
We’ve bought our fair share of used electric winches, and we have learned a few lessons about what to look for and what to avoid. High-quality winches, like any other part of your 4x4, can be rebuilt. A slightly broken winch from a wellknown and long-standing brand probably has a better chance of working when you absolutely need it. By “slightly broken” we mean it doesn’t need much more than a few new parts and a little love. If that’s the case, then you can bet it will last longer than some unheard-of manufacturer’s new winch with all the flashy modern bells and whistles. We prefer reliability over glitz and glamour.
First step to buying a used winch is to know what you’re looking for. What style winch do you want, and how heavy a rating do you need for your rig? The second step is to bring a 12V battery and power leads or at least a set of jumper cables so you can test the winch to see if it works. The third step is to enjoy your newly purchased used winch for years to come.
The key to buying a used winch is to know what you are looking at. This is a Warn M6000. It looks almost exactly like a Warn Belleview winch and darn similar to a Warn 8274. Spanning the timeframe between the M6000 and the 8274 are the rare Warn 8000 and 8200, which have characteristics of both the Belleview and 8274 winches. All of these winches are tried and true, but the 8274 is the most modern and the best of the bunch.