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What Is a Truck Hoist?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 23, 2024
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A truck hoist is also commonly called a winch and is a device used to pull items out of the path of the truck. The truck hoist is also an invaluable tool when used to free a stuck vehicle. By wrapping the hoist cable around a tree or other anchored object, the hoist can be used to help pull the truck out of the mud or other substance that it is stuck in. When aiding another truck that is stuck, the hoist cable can be hooked to the chassis of the vehicle and used to help pull the vehicle free of the mud, sand or snow.

Consisting of an electric motor powering a steel cable drum or spool, the truck hoist can be mounted on the front or rear of the truck; however, the most common mounting location is on the front of the truck. Very strong wire cable is spooled onto the truck hoist drum and a steel hook is attached to the end of the cable to allow the cable to be hooked to an object. When needed, the cable is pulled off of the spool and hooked to another vehicle or a firm and solid object, such as a tree.

Cable can be spooled off of the drum in one of two methods. The manual method entails a person placing the truck hoist in the neutral position and physically pulling the desired amount of cable out of the hoist. An alternate method is to power the cable out. In this method, the hoist is placed in the power out position and the truck hoist uses the electric motor to spool out cable until it is turned off. This is commonly the slower method of the two, but in the manual method, the cable can often bind and be difficult to pull out.

If the hoist is mounted onto the vehicle that is stuck, the hoist cable is placed on another vehicle or a stable object such as a tree. The truck hoist is placed in the pull position, and as the cable is pulled tight, the stuck vehicle assists in the action by applying power to the tires until the vehicle is free of the substance which it was stuck in. If the truck hoist is mounted onto a truck that is assisting another vehicle, the hoist cable is attached to the stuck vehicle, which then applies power to the tires while the hoist is pulled tight.

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