A Drill-Powered Winch Can Make Loading Vehicles Onto A Trailer A Cinch

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Image: Jalopnik / YouTube

Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at a brake fluid tester pen that can help you maintain your car’s braking system, a cordless ratchet that can save wrenching time and a torque multiplier to bust loose a lug nut when your impact wrench won’t do the job. This week’s cool tool is a drill-powered winch that can make loading vehicles onto a trailer much less of a pain.

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This suggestion came from a reader many months ago, and it’s a tool that I will put to the test Jalopnik style later this summer.

Loading a vehicle onto a trailer or dolly can be an annoying hassle if the vehicle won’t move under its own power. Without a winch, you’re left having to push the vehicle. I learned the hard way that a Smart Fortwo is quite heavy when you’re trying to get it up a set of ramps. If you don’t have enough manpower to push the car onto the trailer, a come-along can pull the vehicle up. However, these can take absolutely forever.

This is where a drill-powered winch comes in. Hook one end of the winch up to something stationary and hook the other end to the vehicle that you want to reel in. Insert the power drill into the winch’s bit then let it rip. The torque of the power drill turns into pulling force, and your vehicle slowly boards the trailer.

Warn, a well known maker of winches, sells drill-powered winches in a couple of load capacities, and it has a video demonstrating one pulling a car onto a trailer.

Check out this review by the WorkshopAddict YouTube channel:

The WARN Drill Winch is available in pulling capacities of up to 750 pounds, so the use of snatch blocks (a device that increases pulling capacity using a pulley) may be necessary for heavier loads. Don’t expect these to save you off-road.

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The 500-pound capacity Drill Winch costs about $210, while the 750-pound unit comes in at about $275. They’re available just about anywhere you can buy tools.

But if you don’t want to buy one, it’s actually pretty easy to build your own drill-powered winch out of a hand-crank winch.

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Do you know of a weird or unique but must-have tool that every wrencher should have? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!

DISCUSSION

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The super low buck option for one of these is a boat trailer winch. We use one every fall to take our 2 boat lifts out of the water and onto shore for the winter months. If you take off the handle, you can just put two nuts together (don’t laugh) and put a socket attachment on the drill.

It may not have as high a tow rating as an actual winch, but 40 bucks and you’re done.

EDIT: Also, if your drill takes a shit, it can still be used manually.