So far truck winches and winch straps are only being used with flatbeds, I don’t know the exact percentage but a big portion of flatbeds sold with winches installed, this is a big plus for most drivers since they only need to get winch straps and winch bars(assume they don’t have them) to get started, and the plastic corner protectors maybe required or optional depends on what kind of loads on the truck. A few different kinds of truck winches are available, most seen ones are slide in winches and weld on winches, to use slide in winches the flatbeds have to have rails installed at one side of the truck bed, 2” and 4” are most popular sizes of truck winches, and of course we can say that 2” & 4” winch straps are the most popular ones, 3” winch straps are not that popular but you still can see them from time to time.
The way the truck winch and strap system works is pretty simple, the mandrel, the part into which you can insert the tie down strap, can be used to tighten the winch straps easily, thus tie the loads down pretty much by just put winch bar into the winch side hole then turn as many rounds as needed until the loads are secured properly. The winch structure is pretty simple, there is a barrel goes through the winch body, one side has a though hole and the other side has a gear with a brake, in between lies the mandrel, just put the straps into it, close the brake on the gear will allow you the tighten the straps over the load, since the gear is only allowed to go one direction, when you untie the strap, open the brake, turn the barrel the opposite direction to pull the strap off the load. You are required to use a winch bar with the truck winch, you can use something like a wood stick or wood beam with, it’s not safe and not legal as well.
There usually are 2 kind of standard winch bars, chromated one and black one, and two different combination winch bars, chromated and painted half yellow, you can find them online or locally. Sometimes people get confused with all the different winch bars, they are only used with truck winches after all, why all the different styles? It all comes down to personal preferences and specific needs, for instance, with combination winch bar you can use something else with it, say using a standard winch bar with a combination winch bar under some special circumstances.