Winch Usage – Safety and Maintenance Are Vital!


A winch is one of the more important safety items to have on the steel bumper of your off road truck if you ride the trails on a regular basis or like pushing your truck to the limit. It is there to get you or someone else out of trouble when a little bit of mud or some other issue tries to ruin the entire day.

Although chances are you will not actually use your winch that much, will it work propertly when you do? Do you know how to safely use it? Consider the important tips below about winch maintenance so this important accessory works properly and safely.

Winches Need Maintenance Too

It is easy to forget about that winch on your truck bumper since it really isn't used very often. While it is good not to need to use a winch very often, this could mean that you forget to take care of it so it remains safe and reliable. Yet winch maintenance is simple, so there is no reason not to take care of it.

To keep the winch on your steel bumper in top shape, it should be closely inspected before you go out on the trails.

Winch Maintenance Steps

Start by unrolling the cable and cleaning both the winch and cable with soap and water to remove any caked-on mud and grease. Dry the cable off to prevent rust. Inspect the entire cable for frays, kinks, or broken fibers if you have polyethylene winch ropes. If the cable or rope is damaged in any way, replace it.   

While the cable is unspooled, check the handles, roller, and all electrical connections on the winch in search of any noticeable damage to these parts. If you find any damage, take care of the problem and replace parts as necessary.

Once everything has been checked and repaired, slowly spool the dry cable back up and make sure the roller mechanism is working correctly. After the cable is spooled back up and you have inspected the entire winch mechanism, you should be ready to roll.

Stay Safe Using Your Winch

Another thing that can be easily forgotten when your winch hasn't been used in a while is how to use it safely. Whether you are using the winch on your truck's steel bumper for yourself or someone else, improper winching is dangerous. You need to practice the proper use of recovery gear to prevent injury and get maximum return for your efforts.

Begin using your winch by first putting on a pair of leather gloves to protect your hands to prevent injuries that are common during winching. Start with cables or straps rated to pull twice the weight of the vehicle you want to winch to reduce the chance it will break. Always hook the cable hook onto actual tow points on the vehicle being winched, avoiding weaker points like the bumper unless it is welded onto the frame. Position your truck as far back from the one you are recovering to get the most power from your winch.

Once the cable is hooked and any slack is wound up, put a heavy blanket or tarp over the middle of the cable to weigh it down and prevent it from whipping back should it break. You can also put up the hood on both vehicles to protect the windshields from a snapped cable. When you are ready to begin, stand away from the vehicle being recovered and slowly start winding the cable in with your winch.

Winches make some off-road trucking problems easier to correct. To ensure you have the power needed to recover your off road truck or help someone else, take the time to properly maintain the winch on your steel bumper. When you are ready to use the winch, keep everyone safe by using it properly. With a good pull from a fully functioning winch,  stuck truck can be back on the trail in no time!

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