Basic winch maintenance

How to keep yours in fighting form.

Just because your winch can pull you out of jam doesn’t mean you can take it for granted. Yes, they’re rugged fighters, but neglect the maintenance on one and it could be down for the count just when you need it the most.

We asked Chad Schroll, a systems technician at Warn Industries, to clue us in on how to make sure our winches stay healthy and strong in the harshest of circumstances. Here’s what he advised:

  • Make sure the power and the ground leads to the battery are tight and corrosion free.
  • Check the condition of the battery—make sure you’ve got a good charge.
  • Check the leads at the winch motor, F1, F2, A and ground. They should be clean and tight.
  • Likewise make sure the leads at the solenoids or contactor are clean and tight.
  • Inspect the condition of the remote plug. It should be clean and the pins in good condition.
  • The cable, wire or synthetic, should be tight and have good swage at the drum.
  • Check a wire cable for kinks or frays.
  • Check synthetic cables for frays or heat damage at the drum. Replace if more than a year old.
  • If you’ve dunked your winch under water, run the cable out and then bring it back in under load as if pre-tensioning the cable according to the instruction manual that came with the winch.

And surely we don’t have to remind you to read your instruction manual and follow the directions there, especially in regards to lubricating all required parts. Use a chain lubricant on wire cables, rather than grease which will attract dirt and oil.