Keep It Clean: The Importance of Routine Winch Maintenance

how to maintain your winch

Keep It Clean: The Importance of Routine Winch Maintenance

Your winch needs your attention regularly to ensure optimum and safe operation.  Routine maintenance is the key to getting the most out of your winch and will eliminate the dangers involved in the use of a winch in need of repair.  The life of the winch will also be prolonged with proper care.

Before and after winch use, always inspect to make sure there is no damage to the winch.  Also, check the tightness of the mounting bolts and verify there are no loose components or fasteners.  Tend to these needs if necessary.

Whether you are using synthetic or wire rope, always inspect the rope before and after each winching operation.  If the rope has been kinked or frayed, it will need to be replaced immediately.  Other signs that your rope will need to be replaced include:

Rope bulk anywhere along the length is reduced by 25% or more due to abrasion.
Two or more adjacent strands in rope are cut.
Flat areas or lumps are visible that cannot be fixed by flexing the rope.
Fused or melted fibers are found in excess (these areas will be stiff and the rope will have a shiny appearance.)

Lubricate the cable periodically using light penetrating oil.

Operating the winch for a long period of time can strain the battery.  Ensure that the battery is in good working order and that the battery cables are clean.  Refer to your Operator’s manual for specific battery maintenance.

Winch Maintenance
The clutch should be checked monthly, making sure it is fully engaging and disengaging.  If it is not engaging, inspect the clutch shifter assembly, ensuring there is no damage or excessive wear.  Replace any parts that are necessary.

Keep the winch clean by using a rag or towel to remove any dirt or debris.  It may be necessary to unwind the rope (leaving at least five wraps on the spooling drum), wipe clean, and rewind properly before storage.

Keep an eye out for corrosion on electrical connections.  Corrosion reduces performance and can cause a shortage in the system.  Clean all connections, including the remote control switch and receptacle.  If the winch is being used in a salty environment, use a silicone sealer to protect it from corrosion.

The winch will also need to be protected from corrosion of the internal motor components that can occur with condensation.  Powering the winch in or out periodically will energize the motor, generating heat which will help dissipate any moisture buildup in the motor.

When the winch is not in use, it should be left with the clutch in the engaged position, to help the internal parts of the winch withstand the effects of weather and contamination.


Winches Inc is the authority on winch information.  For more, please give us a call at 877-495-9721 or see our website at