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A winch mounting plate is a device that allows a winch to be mounted onto a specific vehicle with little alteration or custom fitting required. Attaching to specific points that are already drilled or contain bolts allows a winch mounting plate to be fitted and installed onto a vehicle with little time required to design a mounting platform. Several winch manufacturers offer a winch mounting plate for many types of vehicles, along with a generic trim-to-fit plate that is easily adapted to custom applications. The benefit of using a winch plate is the stability and strength that the plate offers as opposed to simply bolting a winch onto a bumper.
Most manufacturers of the winch mounting plate take advantage of mounting points that already exist on a vehicle. This makes the installation of the plate often as easy as holding it in place and placing mounting bolts through the preexisting holes. In some applications, a bolt that already exists in the vehicle's chassis must be removed and then replaced once the winch mounting plate is in position. Often, a factory-built winch mounting plate will take advantage of the strongest mounting points available in a vehicle's chassis to create the strongest winching platform possible.
It is not uncommon for a manufacturing company to spend a lot of money researching and developing the strongest winch mounting plate for any given vehicle. It is very rare for an individual to create a stronger mounting platform than the tried and true, tested winch mounting plate developed by the winch manufacturer. Often created through the use of robotic welders and computer-aided machining processes, a factory-produced mounting plate will typically not only be stronger than a home-built plate, it will also usually look and fit much better.
Commonly beginning with quality cold-rolled steel plate, the typical winch plate is manufactured to fit securely between the vehicle's frame rails. Gaining its strength from improved winching angles, the mounting plate often has a slight angle manufactured into the design to avoid pulling against right angles. Some mounting plates incorporate a roller fairlead into the leading edge of the plate to provide a smooth surface for the winch cable to slide over during the winching process. Some other winch mounting plate features are storage boxes, tool boxes and auxiliary lighting. Some plates also offer a system for incorporating a cover to protect the winch from the weather and sunlight.