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A winch is a mechanical device that’s used to adjust tension in a rope or wire cable. Winches often consist of metal drums with a handle attached to crank the tension of the rope or wire. In many winch examples, you can attach a hook or clamp to the end of the rope or wire to attach to the item that you wish to pull or drag.

Some winches can be much more complicated than the one mentioned above. These include hydraulic or pneumatic winches which often have gear assemblies attached to them.

There are also winches that make use of a braking system. The more complicated of these is an electrical winch, which can use solenoids to stop the wire or rope from unravelling from the drum.

Another variation on the winch is a lever winch. This type of winch uses jaws that grip the wire rather than having it wrapped around a spool. This type of winch is particularly strong and is capable of towing a huge amount of weight.

Winches can be used to tow broken down vehicles or to help rescue vehicles stuck in snow, sand or mud.