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ProMark Offroad Blog

Trailer Winch Maintenance Tips

As your trailer winch gets a little more use this summer, you should check for areas that need maintenance now that we’re in mid-season. Your trailer winch is your greatest ally when it’s working properly. Here are a few maintenance tips for your trailer winch and boat trailer to keep your boat safe and your winch in great working order.

Trailer Winch

Superwinch S5000 Trailer Winch


If you use an electric winch, remember to release the load and remove the winch from the power source before performing any cleaning or maintenance activity.

Clean and Clear

Take some time to clean and clear the tow line from any debris that may have become encrusted from tow after tow. This will be easier with a steel line, but you might have difficulty with a synthetic tow line. Make sure that your line winds and unwinds smoothly, with the coils laying neatly next to one another.

Tighten Up

Loose screws could lead to breaks, or you could lose the winch all together. Tighten screws routinely at the mount point and on the winch itself if your model requires it.


Over time and exposure to fresh and salt water, your trailer winch can become susceptible to corrosion. Check for any cracks, corroded metal, or bent surfaces. Depending on your winch’s current condition, you may need to replace the entire device.

Other Trailer Maintenance 

Lights: Every time you unload or load your boat, the trailer lights are submerged. Pamper these as you would your boat. There are very important for safe transport.

Bearings: If your bearings run dry, add a liberal amount of grease. This should happen after each boating season.

Wash: Keeping your trailer clean. Wash it down each time you leave the water. This will help for cross contamination of lakes, which can spread bacteria and aquatic life to other lakes where it doesn’t belong.

Trailer Winch

Need help loading your boat trailer? ProMark Offroad offers many trailer winch options to make the job fast and easy. Get free shipping on all trailer winches shipped to the lower 48 U.S.!

Tips for Using a Trailer Winch

If you’ve just bought a new boat for your summer recreations, lets start off with saying…CONGRATULATIONS! You are a boat owner! There are a lot of responsibilities that come with owning a boat. One of these responsibilities is transportation. Our guess is that you most likely bought a trailer winch with your boat. A trailer winch is the cornerstone on which boat transportation rests. Knowing how to properly use your trailer winch is just as important as knowing how to use your new boat. We’ve compiled a few tips for trailer winch use to make your summer as safe and fun as it can be!

Trailer Winch

10,500lb Electric Marine Boat Trailer Winch

Original Design

In light of common misconceptions, you need to remember what the purpose of your trailer winch is. A winch is meant to aid in loading and unloading your boat. A winch is not meant to support or hold a boat in place. Any bump on the road could result in a winch release. This could turn into a disaster unless precautions are made. To prevent mishaps like these, use separate tie downs, a bow chain, or hook to hold your boat securely on the trailer.

Proper Operation

When using hand-operated winches, make sure that you have proper footing and leverage. A host of accidents occur each year from “handle kick-back.” To prevent any muscle strain, consider using an electric winch. Electric winches provide constant power and allow you to guide the boat onto the trailer.

Winch Ratings

Every winch has a weight rating. It is very important to know your boat’s weight and the weight of any accessories that are stored in your boat. You should invest in a winch that has double the weight rating of your rig. Make sure that you have a standard assembly to connect your winch to the trailer. If your winch should fail, you will be able to switch it out fairly easily.

Line Safety

Avoid any line chafe by keeping the winch line taught. Line chafe can cause harm to your winch line. Your line should coil in straight rows when trailering your boat and when releasing.

Trailer Winch

Are you looking for the right trailer winch for all your boating needs? Choose a trailer winch from ProMark! We offer a wide variety of winches at affordable prices. We also have free shipping on any trailer winch shipped to the lower 48 U.S.!


Choosing a Trailer Winch | Electric Boat Winches

Which winch would witches wield? Alliteration aside, determining winch selection might seem like an insignificant task. Although a trailer winch may not be your most exciting gear purchase, it will become your best friend and ally when dealing with your boat and summer fun. From all the winches out there, which trailer winch should you choose? There are a few criteria for selecting a trailer winch, from its size to its function. Here’s what to look for when selecting your trailer winch:

trailer winchWeight

All winches are rated by weight capacity. A common misconception is that winches are rated by boat length. If you have difficulty figuring out your boat weight, contact the manufacturer. Remember that you also need to account for the weight of the motor and everything else on board to get an accurate weight total. It’s in your best interest to err on the high side if there is any doubt.

Manual vs. Electric

Manual winches are single speed with a fixed gear ratio. If the ratio is 10:1, that means that cranking the handle 10 times results in 1 winch drum turn. The higher the ratio, the easier it is to crank. The only sacrifice is speed. Some manual winches offer dual speeds, offering higher speeds when gravity isn’t much of a factor and ease of use when it is.

Electric trailer winches have many advantages. They do all the hard work for you and retain a consistent rate. Some winches can be control at their pull point or by a wireless transmitter. Other winches offer a “power-out” option for lowering your boat into the water. This avoids the problems of free spooling too quickly and risking a tangled cable. Be sure to keep your car running to avoid draining your battery.


Most often, a trailer winch can be mounted to the trailer frame. In some cases, a bracket or mounting piece might be necessary to line everything up properly. The winch should be centered on the frame in line with the approach of the boat. If the winch is not mounted like this, the drum will load up on one side. The winch should wind onto the drum in even rows.

Nylon vs. Steel

Nylon straps are easy on the hands and are great for pulling smaller boats. Nylon is unreliable with heavier boats. Enter steel cable. Steel cable will be the best material for pulling heavy loads. They can also be doubled by using a pulley block. Only use the amount of cable that you will need. Extra cable will rob you of power, making it harder to turn the crank.

Trailer Winches

Need help loading your boat on a trailer? Our trailer winches make the job fast and easy. Get free shipping on all trailer winches shipped to the lower 48 U.S.!

Loading a Boat Trailer with Electric Winch

Electric boat winches make it a lot easier to load your boat onto a trailer without straining your arms or back. They also come in handy on steep ramps, where the sharp loading angle makes it difficult to load your boat.

Electric boat winch

Use an electric boat winch to load your boat.

Using an Electric Boat Winch

To use your electric winch to load your boat, first place the towing vehicle’s transmission in “Park.” Set the emergency brake and block the wheels from rolling by using chocks.

We recommend keeping the vehicle’s engine running while using the boat winch so that you won’t drain the battery. However, you’ll need to use extreme caution when working around a vehicle with the engine running.

Next, grab the winch hook and unwind the steel cable until you can reach the boat in the water. Make sure there are at least four turns of steel cable left on the winch spool to prevent the cable from pulling out completely.

Attach the winch hook to the front of the boat using an approved pulling point, chain, or tow strap. Never wrap the winch hook around an object and hook it back onto itself; this could kink, fray, or otherwise damage the steel cable on your electric boat winch.

Loading the Boat on the Trailer

Use the “power in” button on the remote control to use the electric winch to load your boat on the trailer. Continue holding down the “power in” button until the boat is fully loaded on the trailer.

If you experience electrical failure for some reason, attach the manual hand crank to your electric winch and load the boat manually by cranking the handle.

Once the boat is loaded, secure the boat to the trailer using a chain or strap. Never rely on the winch cable to hold your boat in place.

Electric Boat Winches

Need help loading your boat on a trailer? Our electric boat winches make the job fast and easy. Get free shipping on all trailer winches shipped to the lower 48 U.S.!

Tips for Using a Trailer Winch

Trailer winch

An electric trailer winch saves your back and shoulders.

Need to load a boat or vehicle onto a trailer? A trailer winch will make your job quick and easy. Here are some tips for using a trailer winch.

  • Always use separate tie-downs and chains to secure the boat or vehicle to the trailer. Don’t use your trailer winch to secure a boat or vehicle to the trailer. Winches aren’t designed to hold a load. If you hit a pothole, the winch could release, endangering your boat, trailer, and other vehicles on the road.
  • To reduce strain on your back and shoulders, use an electric trailer winch. They allow you to quickly load a boat, vehicle, or rolling load onto a trailer. With a hand-held or wireless remote, you have one hand free to guide the boat onto the trailer.
  • Manual hand winches can cause severe injuries if they snap back. You can avoid this danger by using an electric winch, which lets you stand further away from the winching process.
  • When choosing a trailer winch, make sure the assembly bolt pattern will match up with the location that you want to mount the winch.
  • Choose a trailer winch with enough pulling capacity to load the combined weight of your boat, motor, and gear. You can use boat length as a general guideline for choosing a winch rating, but make sure the winch capacity is high enough to accommodate your boat’s weight as well.
  • Be careful not to let the winch line chafe against any sharp edges on the winch stand or trailer. Inspect the winch line periodically for damage. If you notice any damage, replace the winch line before using the trailer winch again.

Mounting an Electric Boat Trailer Winch

Electric trailer winch

An electric trailer winch makes it easy to load your boat.

Using an electric trailer winch makes it easier to load your boat after a long day on the lake. By being able to control the trailer winch with a remote, you can easily load the boat on your own and use your free hand to guide the boat onto the trailer.

Here are some tips for mounting an electric boat winch on your trailer or other mounting location.

Check It Twice

First, before mounting the winch, check for any structural damage, such as cracks, bends, frayed cable, or any other damage that might make it unsafe to operate the winch. Don’t use the winch if you see any damage—even minor damage!

Find a Mounting Spot

Next, figure out where you want to mount the electric winch. It should be a flat surface, either square or rectangular. Don’t try to mount the winch on a rounded surface. Also, make sure there’s plenty of room for the hand crank to rotate a full 360 degrees.

Permanent or Temporary

You can either permanently mount the winch on a truck bed, trailer, or other location, or you can temporarily mount the winch using an adapter plate attached to your vehicle’s hitch mount. For permanent mounting, you may need to use steel reinforcement plates or weld on additional bracing, depending on where you want to mount the winch.

Mounting the Winch

Line up the base of the winch with the desired mounting location or the adapter plate. For permanent mounting, mark the holes for drilling, drill the holes, and use the bolts included to secure the winch in place.

For the adapter plate, line up the mounting holes with the holes in the adapter plate and use the screws included to secure the winch to the plate. Then attach the adapter plate to the vehicle hitch by inserting the hitch ball through the teardrop-shaped hole in the adapter plate.

Your winch is now mounted and ready for wiring!

Loading a Boat with an Electric Trailer Winch

Electric trailer winch

Loading your boat is easy with an electric trailer winch.

Loading and unloading your boat with an electric trailer winch is fast and easy. Just follow the instructions below.

Loading Your Boat with an Electric Winch

  1. Connect the trailer winch to the power source. Connect the remote control (if using a corded remote).
  2. Line up the trailer and boat to get ready for loading.
  3. Release the clutch on the electric winch so that you can freespool the cable out.
  4. Spool out enough cable to reach the boat. (If the cable is difficult to freespool, you can try powering out with the motor for a few seconds, with the clutch fully released. Then continue freespooling.)
  5. Attach the winch hook to the bow eye on your boat.
  6. Engage the clutch to set the brake. Be careful not to overtighten the clutch.
  7. Get clear of the cable, electric winch, and boat. Make sure all bystanders are out of harm’s way in case anything should go wrong.
  8. Power in the cable until the boat is fully loaded and the boat juts up against the bow stop.
  9. Disconnect the remote control (if using a corded remote).
  10. Secure the boat to the trailer.

Unloading Your Boat with an Electric Winch

  1. If not already connected, attach the winch hook to the bow eye on your boat.
  2. Connect the electric winch to the power source. Plug in the remote control (if corded).
  3. Remove the boat tie downs and the chains that secure the boat and trailer, leaving only the winch hook connected to the bow eye.
  4. Disengage the clutch so that the cable is allowed to freespool.
  5. Let the boat slide off the trailer into the water. If the boat slides down too fast, you can tighten the clutch slightly to slow down the boat.
  6. After the boat is in the water, release the winch hook from the bow eye.
  7. Engage the clutch so that the brake is set.
  8. Keeping a steady amount of tension on the winch cable, power in the cable with the winch remote. Be careful not to let your fingers get too close to the winch.
  9. Secure the winch hook to prevent accidental damage.
  10. Unplug the remote control and store it in a safe, dry location.

Choosing a Boat Trailer Winch

Electric trailer winch

An electric trailer winch makes it easier to load your boat.

Need a power winch to load your boat? An electric trailer winch lets you load faster and easier. With a corded or wireless remote, you can load the boat one-handed, with the other hand guiding the boat onto the trailer.

What Size Winch?

The winch power you’ll need will depend on the size, length, and weight of your boat. Look at the max load rating and/or the maximum boat length for the trailer winch to find the right one for your boat.

Wireless Remote or Wired?

Electric trailer winches come with wireless or corded remote controls. Either way, you’ll have to keep track of the remote. A wireless remote lets you load the boat from further away, and there are no cords to trip over or get in the way.

Winch Strap or Cable?

Both straps and cables are durable and efficient when handled properly. A trailer winch with a nylon strap is easier on your hands, since there are no stray wires that can slice into your skin and it won’t get pinched between layers on the drum. Steel cable, on the other hand, is better able to withstand rugged conditions and won’t rot when exposed to rain and harsh weather.

Since a winch strap is thicker and takes up more space on the drum than a cable, you’ll want to go with cable if you need a longer reach with the hook.

Trailer Winch Tips

Electric trailer winch

An electric trailer winch takes the strain off your back and shoulders.

Trailer winches make it easier to load boats, cars, and other cargo. Keep in mind that they are designed to load and unload boats—not to hold them in place. You should never rely on the winch strap alone to hold your boat on the trailer. If you hit a bump in the road, the winch line can pay out. To make sure your boat is securely strapped down, use separate tie downs.

Using a Trailer Winch

If you are using a hand winch, be careful not to let the handle kick back. Make sure your footing is secure and you have good leverage to wind the boat onto the trailer. If loading a boat leaves you fatigued, consider investing in an electric trailer winch. By letting the winch do all of the work, you no longer have to deal with a sore back and shoulders. An electric trailer winch also leaves you with a free hand to guide the boat onto the trailer.

Avoid chafing on the winch line. Don’t let it rub on sharp edges, such as on the winch mount or on the trailer. Rubbing can create sharp frays on the winch cable or damage the cable prematurely, forcing you to buy a new cable.

Choosing a Trailer Winch

Choose a trailer winch based on the weight of your boat, not just the length. Although length is a good starting point—and easier to estimate—the winch is designed to pull weight, not length. Gross weight can vary significantly from one boat to another, even though they are the same length. Fuel load, gear, water, and the materials used in the construction of the boat, along with other factors, all impact the boat’s weight. When estimating the weight of your boat, include the weight of anything else that will be inside the boat at the time you are loading it onto the trailer.

Marine Winch Brake Adjustment

Before using your new ProMark Offroad marine winch, be sure to adjust the brake as necessary to allow the motor to power the cable in and out. In order for the winch to work properly, the brake tensioner must be manually adjusted to the correct tension for the weight of your application. Making this adjustment before use will prevent the occurrence of a failed relay and the hassle of contacting the warranty department for new parts.

Below are instructions for adjusting your marine winch brake:

1. Remove the four winch case screws and handle bolt to get access to the brake adjustment nut. (Fig. 1)

Removing the bolts

Removing the bolts

2. Loosen the outer lock nut. (Fig. 2)

Tightening the brake tensioner

Tightening the brake tensioner

3. Adjust the brake tensioner nut to achieve the desired brake resistance.
*Note: Getting the correct tension for the weight of your application may take a few adjustments.

4. Tighten the lock nut.

5. Reassemble the winch case.

That’s it! Now your electric marine winch is ready to use!