How To Use Winch Without Remote

Going off-road, especially when doing it for recreational activities and utility, needs a lot of preparation. At some point in your journey, you may encounter some problems along the way. Problems that could arise are things like getting stuck on mud, sand, snow, or steep rocks. When these kinds of situations arise, you could counter by having a friend pull you out or by calling for help. But in some cases, they might not work. 

There are times that you are trekking alone in the outdoors, where a friend or calling for help can take a while to reach you. In these cases, you can only help yourself. You can prepare yourself for these scenarios by having the right tools, and one of these tools is a winch.

The winch is a very useful tool in helping yourself when getting stuck in the mud, snow, or sand. A winch can help you anchor at any stable position that can support the car’s weight when winching out. But what if your winch is not functional? 

You might encounter an accident that causes your winch to be inoperable. You might require the winch’s remote to operate the winch much more efficiently, but what if it suddenly does not work? If your winch remote suddenly does not work, worry not. With this guide, we will help you prepare yourself for this situation.

How Does A Winch Work?

Before we start winching without a remote, we should familiarize ourselves with how winches work.

A winch is a device used for hauling or hoisting objects. It consists of different parts, a cable wire, drum, motor, and gear train.

  • Cable Wire: When you buy a winch kit, it comes with a winch cable. They are found wrapped around the drum.
  • Drum: The drum is a horizontal cylinder that is being wrapped by the winch cable. It is what spins when winching in and out.
  • Motor: This is what powers the winch, they are can be powered manually, electrically, or hydraulically. Different models use different power sources.
  • Gear Train: This is what transfers the power from the motor and into the drum, causing the drum to spin.

All parts are essential for a winch to work properly. These terms need to be familiarized to operate the winch effectively.

Using A Winch Without A Remote

In this guide, we will help you prepare yourself when your winch remote is suddenly unavailable. With this guide, you can winch yourself out when stuck without a winch remote.

Note: As with using all kinds of tools, you always need to keep safety in mind, especially more so when handling winches. For more information regarding handling winches refer to this guide here.

  1. Find A Fixed Anchoring Point: Look for a fixed anchoring position that can support your car’s weight when winching out. Examples for anchoring points are trees and bug boulders.
  2. Disengage The Lever To Release Cable: Your winch should have a lever on it. Beside the lever, there should be labels that say “free spool” or “disengage”. Turn the lever towards the disengage label, this allows your cable to spool freely out of the winch.
  3. Pull Out the Winch Cable: Now that the lever is disengaged, you can now freely pull the winch cable out. Careful to pull out too much of the winch cable, only pull out the necessary length you need. 
  4. Wrap A Strap Around The Anchoring Point: Wrap a strap around the anchoring point you found. Position the ends of the straps facing you.
  5. Attach A D-shackle: Attach a D-shackle at the two ends of the straps.
  6. Attach The Winch Hook To The D-shackle: Winches comes with built-in winch hooks at the tip of the winch cable. Connect the winch hook to the D-shackle, and make sure the tip is facing up.
  7. Turn The Lever To Engage: Your winch has a label “engage” in it. Turn the lever towards that direction, this stops the winch cable from spooling freely.
  8. Hot Wiring The Winch: Operating the winch without a remote is hard, but it is possible. This method is jump-starting the winch. Be very careful with this procedure and do it slowly. The winching might start suddenly.
    • Disconnect the positive lead from the battery (leave the ground lead attached).
    • Label and disconnect the three cables that run from the control pack to the three posts on the motor
    • Stamped next to the three posts on the motor will be “A”, “F1” and “F2”. Run a small jumper wire (5″-6″ dead lead, 8 ga. will work just fine) from “A” to “F1” and put power from the battery (jumper cables work well) to “F2”. The winch motor should run in one direction at this time
    • Next, place the jumper wire from “A” to “F2” and put power from the battery to “F1”. The winch motor should run in the opposite direction at this time.
  9. Gently Winch You Way Out: Slowly drive towards the anchoring point. 
  10. Stop Winching: Continue driving until you find a safe spot where your car is no longer bogged down.
  11. Unrig The Wrinch: Unrig the wrench by rewinding the winch cable neatly and keeping the straps you have set up earlier.

Winch Recommendations

If you are looking for some portable winches, I’ll recommend a drill winch. Drill winch is a small but compact and portable and can get the job done. Drill winch can be useful when you want to haul or hoist some objects quickly.

Here are some of our drill winch recommendations:

  1. WARN 910500 Handheld Portable Drill Winch
  2. WARN 101570 Handheld Portable Drill Winch


What do you think of this guide? Do you think I missed something important? Comment your thoughts below. Our website also offers different guides and tips as well such as How To Install A Winch and Best Hand Winch for Boat Anchors.