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Tech Tip Tuesday: Determine the Right Winch Capacity For Your Truck or SUV

WARN VR on Red Jeep JKOne of the questions we get asked the most often is how to select the right capacity winch for your truck, Jeep, or SUV. The formula is actually quite simple.

GVWR x 1.5 = Minimum Pulling Capacity

This is the formula. Let’s break it down:

First, find your rig’s gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR. This can often be found on the sticker on your driver’s door. GVWR is your vehicle’s maximum operating weight. This differs from curb weight, which is the weight of the vehicle without occupants or cargo. Again you want GVWR not curb weight.

Now take the GVWR and multiply that by 1.5. This resulting number is your minimum recommended pulling capacity.

Ascent Bumper Toyota Tacoma

For example, say you have a 2016 Toyota Tacoma. The GVWR is 5,600 lbs. Multiply that by 1.5 and you get 8,400 lbs.—your minimum pulling capacity. While an 8,000 lb. winch would suffice, you could always go up to a 9,000 or 10,000 lb. winch, too.

Ascent Bumper_Chevy 2500

Conversely, if you had a Chevrolet Silverado 2500 with a 9,900 lb. GVWR, using our formula, you’d end up with a minimum pulling capacity of 14,850 lbs. We wouldn’t recommend you go all the way back to a 12,000 lb. winch for this application. Rather, we’d recommend you opt for a M15 (or M15-S) or 16.5ti or 16.5ti-s with 15,000 lb. or 16,500 lb. capacities, respectively.

Finding your GVWR is the first step to selecting the perfect WARN winch for your truck, Jeep, or SUV. Afterward, check out the full line of WARN truck, Jeep, and SUV winches and our our mounting systems, including Ascent Front Bumpers for select Chevrolet/GMC, Ford, Ram, and Toyota pickups.


One thought on “Tech Tip Tuesday: Determine the Right Winch Capacity For Your Truck or SUV Leave a comment

  1. Great article and definately a question that gets asked all the time. It is also worth adding, the type of activity you need to use your winch for, to the equation. For example, if you are a heavy mudder, you should consider the suck factor of whatever you are stuck in, this can add considerable llbs to your requirements. Basically, do the simple equation and get a winch with higher capacity to cover your needs.

    We did some testing recently, and the Warn VR8000 won our Best Truck Winch award (congratulations), you can find the full review over at


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