You’ve invested in your off-road truck in various ways to be sure it’s up to the challenge. You’ve upgraded stock equipment to make your ride more durable and added things like steel bumpers with a built-in winch just in case you run into some kind of trouble.
You’re no stranger to the added amount of vehicle maintenance required to keep your wheels running strong, spending plenty of time off the trail cleaning, maintaining, and tweaking. Throughout all of that, are you remembering to maintain your winch? It might be an added element and since it’s a mechanical part, it requires also maintenance.
Why Winch Maintenance Is Critical
Off-roaders know that winches are mechanical devices that exert a huge amount of force to pull stuck off-road trucks to safety on the trail. Considering how they are used and the potential for danger should the winch fail, it’s critical that you spend some time making sure your winch and all essential parts are in good condition before you really need to use it. To keep the winch mounted on a bumper as safe and reliable as possible, you need to give it attention as part of your regular off-road truck maintenance.
Proper Winch Maintenance
To keep your winch working its best and ensure its reliability, here are a few tips on easy winch maintenance. Do these checks when you do your truck cleaning and maintenance before trying to use the winch to avoid being stuck somewhere with a winch that won’t work or is unsafe:
- Battery Terminal Connection - Winches get power from your truck’s battery. To ensure a proper connection, inspect the battery terminals before using the winch, make sure they’re tight and check them for corrosion. Clean the terminals if necessary, tighten them down, then test to see that the winch is getting enough power. If it’s weak or dead, chances are there’s a problem with the terminal connection.
- Motor Connections - Check to be sure winch motor connection cables are also clean and tightly attached. Also check the battery ground connection that is usually positioned on the bottom of the winch motor.
- Remote Control – Inspect the condition of the remote control cable; make sure there are no kinks, breaks, or other damage. Ensure there is no plug or terminal damage and that both are clean and free of corrosion.
- Winch Cable or Rope Condition - Whether you’re using synthetic rope or wire cable, roll it out every so often and examine it. Look for fraying, kinks, broken strands, and any type of damage that could cause cable or rope weakening. If you notice any of these things, be safe and replace it.
- Stretch and Wind Cable - After rolling out the entire rope or cable to inspect it, stretch it as it is wound back onto the drum by spooling it under pressure. This allows a slow, even winding while flattening and stretching the cable so it stays in its best condition on the drum.
- Run the Winch Motor - It’s important to keep winch gears and the motor well lubricated to reduce the possibility of corrosion as it begins to dry out over time. Accomplish this is by running the winch motor for a few minutes each month, especially if you’ve been lucky enough not to actually need the winch out on the trail. One of the best ways to do this is to unroll and then re-roll the cable. You can kill two birds with one stone by doing a monthly inspection on your cable, then stretching it as you roll it back onto the drum.
Simple, right? Just a few basic, common sense tips you can add to your regular maintenance to make sure that all that equipment, including truck winch bumpers, are ready for a day on the trail. Hopefully, you won’t actually need that winch. If you do, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing it’s in great shape and totally prepared to pull you out of any difficult situations!