Winches get very little attention until you get your ATV or UTV stuck. Then when the job is over, the cable is usually reeled back in and the hero of the day is forgotten until the next mishap. But, there are three simple things you can do to keep your winch happy and functioning the way it should when you need it most.
1) Battery Connection: Double check that the cables that attach to the battery are secure and clean so the winch gets all the neccesary power. This also helps prevent damage to the solenoid switch for the winch by providing the power it needs to keep the contacts securely connected.
2) Winch Cable: Steel cable has a tendency to fray and can become very dangerous to use if not properly managed. Fraying steel lines can pierce your fingers and might grab at debris, pulling it into the winch drum. Don’t trim off fraying braids. Simply replace the winch cable when it starts to fray badly.
3) Proper Winch Winding: After you have used your winch a time or two, you might notice the cable is binding or winding up crooked on the drum. This not only takes up much more space on the drum, causing the cable to bind on the winch housing, but it can also damage the steel cable. To remedy this, simply pull the winch cable off of the drum until there are only two wraps of cable still on the winch. Then attach the cable to a solid object, place the machine in neutral and steadily winch the cable back in while managing the cable reel position. Be sure to wear heavy gloves and watch for frays that could stick your hands. Also, do not get your hands within a few feet of the actual winch.
This simple trick ensures a clean, useful winch for the next time the mud is a little deeper than you thought.