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ProMark Offroad Blog

Most Common Winch Issues and Solutions

When operating and maintaining your winch, either on an independent machine or on your vehicle, there are a few different issues that commonly pop up. Things like kinks in the rope or winch chain, rusting in the winding mechanism, or even gear and motor failure are the most common issues to watch out for. Some of these issues can be prevented but others are related directly to the age of the machine, the make, the model, and more factors that cannot be predicted or prevented.
The easiest way to prevent any issue with your winch is of course proper care of your winch prior to use. This means regular cleaning, service, and maintenance to replace parts that may have worn out or that are getting a bit old. With something like a kink or knot in your winch rope or chain, this is often an on the spot repair. Often, when a winch is not properly rewound or when the rope has too much slack or tension, it can become tangled causing knots and kinks that make for a difficult re-spooling process and therefore, loss of leverage. The best way to prevent this is of course to make sure your rope maintains the proper tension while in use and while being re-spooled. Another cable issue that might pop up is of course breakage. This again can be related to the spooling technique or more simply to the age and level of use with the cable. Older cables that are made of nylon or fiber can become worn and frayed and even dry rotted which means that a rope or cord could easily snap while being used.
Another issue to watch out for is of course gear failure. This can occur when a gear is worn, old, or when it is not properly lubricated. Often when a gear slips or fails, there is some sort of tell tale signs that this failure is on its way. The best way to fix gear failures is of course to make sure you routinely check your gears to make sure they are catching and that they are not grinding upon one another. When a gear slips or grinds, it is often accompanied by a loud noise indicating that there is something wrong with the gear mechanisms.
The last issue, motor failure, is far less simple to diagnose and catch prior to a complete blow out. Again, the best way to prevent a motor blow out is to routinely check your motor and your winch to see that it is working properly. By running your winch every week you can spot check for issues that may pop up and you can even take the time to perform routine maintenance. If you are at any time unsure how to remedy a problem that pops up with your winch, it is always better to talk to a professional and get proper help to prevent further damage to your winch that may be irreversible.

Why it is Important to Have a Winch- Don’t Leave Your Buddy Behind

Nothing is more frustrating than heading out on a weekend off-roading adventure, for someone to end up stranded. Whether it’s you or your buddy that is hung up in mud or stuck in another sticky situation, you’ve got to be able to handle the issue yourself. Most of the fun places to off-road are very remote and getting help out to where you are can be difficult. Most commercial towing vehicles can’t get to these remote spots, and many people don’t have a buddy with heavy-duty equipment at the ready to perform a rescue. When you are off-roading, you may also not have an exact handle on your location, and a lot of GPS systems don’t work without a strong cell signal. You may also be far from cell towers, so you can’t call someone to come help you anyway. This is why it’s imperative that you have a good winch installed on your vehicle to help you out of a jam.
Having a good winch installed on your vehicle is imperative if you or your buddy gets in a tight spot and needs a hand getting loose. There are other benefits that come with having a winch handy when you are off the beaten path. Trees may fall and get in the way. Turning around and going home is definitely no fun, and you don’t want to damage your vehicle by trying to plow through an obstacle. Your winch can help you move these obstacles and move on with your adventure.
As with any piece of equipment that you add to your vehicle, proper planning is imperative. Don’t be influenced by price; a good winch is worth every penny that you’ll spend on the purchase and installation. Make sure you have the right size winch for your vehicle. A winch that can’t handle the full weight of your vehicle, plus any mud that is bogging it down isn’t worth much. You should also ensure that your winch is installed properly. And finally, familiarize yourself with the equipment before you head out, so you know how it works. This will help you avoid a bad situation that is only exacerbated by equipment damage or failure due to an operator that is unfamiliar with the equipment or improper installation.
If you are looking for a high-quality winch for your 4×4 vehicle, we have what you need. No matter the size, or application, ProMark Offroad has something to fit your needs. We’ve also got a wide variety of related accessories to help you have the most fun possible when you are out and about in your off-road vehicle. Check out our inventory online and order through our secure website. You can also give us a call, or use our online customer service feature to place an order or get assistance with your questions.

Which is Better? Roller or Hawse Fairlead for your Winch

Hawse and roller fairleads are winch accessories that help to prevent wear and tear on your winch rope or winch cable. Fairleads ensure that your winch rope or cable unwinds evenly from the winch drum.

Hawse Fairleads

These are preferred by users of nylon winch ropes. Use an Aluminum Hawse Fairlead as these are designed specifically for self-recovery winches running synthetic winch rope. The

Universal Roller Fairlead from Promark Offroad will protect your winch cable

Universal Roller Fairlead from Promark Offroad will protect your winch cable

ProMark Offroad aluminum hawse is constructed with high quality aluminum that maintains a smooth machined surface. Aluminium is more resilient to wear and tear as well as rust. Unlike traditional steel hawse or roller fairleads, this fairlead will not fray or tangle synthetic winch ropes.

Hawse fairleads are generally less expensive than roller fairleads.

Remember when mounting an aluminum fairlead to a steel bumper or chassis that nylon washers should be employed between these surfaces to insulate against corrosion.

Roller Fairleads

These use a roller system to support and guide the winch cable no matter which direction you are pulling it. This helps to reduce chaffing, especially when you are pulling large loads or at a sharp angle. These kinds of fairleads are most often used with a wire winch rope.

Either way you go, depending on your selected rope or wire, a fairlead will help to ensure you get the most out of your winch, allowing you the peace of mind they were designed to provide for years of safe and trouble free winching. They both help to complete that off-road look of your ride to boot!

ProMark Roller Fairlead

The PROMARK 8K to 12K Multi-Directional Universal Roller Fairlead is a heavy duty unit designed to work with all 10″ bolt pattern self-recovery winches and mounts. This fairlead is constructed using premium rollers that will not fail under load. This fairlead will work with all PROMARK recovery winches, Warn, Ramsey, and other major brands.

ATV Winch Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your ATV winch properly will ensure that it’s in great working condition when you need it most. Properly maintaining your ATV winch takes very little time and effort, but it can really add to the longevity of your winch motor and accessories. Its best to check your ATV winch every time you head out and again after use. Here are a few quick tips that will help you to keep your ATV winch working for you.

Inspect the steel winch cable before and after use to ensure that there is no kinking or fraying. If you notice any kinks or frays, replace the steel winch cable immediately, a snapped cable can be a dangerous hazard. If you use a synthetic winch rope, check for fraying, melting or fusing and immediately replace and damaged ropes.

Clean your winch regularly by wiping away dirt and debris with a soft rag. After use, unwind the winch until only five wraps remain. Slowly rewind the winch rope so that it is evenly

Steel Winch Cable Replacements from OffRoad

Steel Winch Cable Replacements from ProMark OffRoad

distributed over the spool.

Lightly oil your wire winch rope and hook to prevent corrosion and rust.

Check that your winch battery is fully charged before use and that all connections are secure and free of corrosion or buildup.

Check that all bolts and all electrical connections are secure. Loose bolts can lead to you losing your winch all together. Your winching system is as strong as the weakest link, so check that your mounting plate is secured. A loose bolt can cause the winch to pull free under pressure.

Trailer Winch

Looking for a good quality winch? ProMark Offroad offers many ATV winch options to make the job fast and easy. Get free shipping on all trailer winches shipped to the lower 48 U.S.!

 

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

Safety

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.

Erosion

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.!

Steel Winch Cable Maintenance for 12V Winches

Winch maintenance

Taking care of your winch cable will make it last longer.

One of the most important parts of your 12V winch to inspect on a regular basis is the cable. If the winch cable breaks under load, you risk significant damage to any vehicle or person in the cable’s path. You also risk damage to the vehicle being recovered, since it could roll back down an incline or slide backwards into a tree, rock, or other object.

Inspect the Cable

Steel cable holds a tremendous amount of energy under load. If it snaps, the force of the lash-back can cause injury or death. Make sure you inspect the wire rope before and after the winching process.

If you notice kinks or fraying, it’s time to replace the cable. Cut wires are also a major warning sign. The more wires get cut, the weaker the cable becomes and the more likely it will be to break under load.

Inspect Adjoining Parts

Inspect the winch hook and hook pin for signs of damage as well. If you notice anything amiss, replace any damaged parts before use.

Protect Your Hands

Always wear thick leather gloves when handling wire cable. Not only can the wire slice into your palms, but the factory coating on the rope can irritate your skin.

Keep It Clean

Wipe off dirt and debris after using your winch rope. Keeping a dirty cable spooled on the winch can lead to rust and corrosion. Wipe it down with a clean rag or use a hose to wash away dirt and debris. If desired, you can add a light coating of oil to the wire rope and winch hook to protect against rust and corrosion.

Prevent Damage

Make sure the winch cable doesn’t rub against anything sharp during the recovery process. Rig up the pull as straight as possible. Sharp angle pulls increase the chances of damaging the winch cable.

Spool Evenly

Keep an eye on the winch cable as it spools into the drum. Don’t let it pile up too much on one side of the drum. Uneven spooling can lead to a bird’s nest (which is very difficult to undo) or cause the cable to pile up high enough inside the winch housing that there’s no room left to spool in more cable.

How to Keep a Winch Motor from Overheating

Winch motor

Take breaks from winching to keep your motor from overheating.

Why does my motor overheat?

Every once in awhile we’ll get a question from a customer who complains that his winch motor is overheating. Most often, the problem is operator error.

If you run an electric winch for too long, especially when it’s close to the maximum load rating, the motor will overheat and possibly overload the contactor.

12-volt electric winches are designed for intermittent duty, which means that you need to take a break and stop winching every once in awhile in order to let the motor cool down.

How do you know if the motor is going to overheat?

If the winch motor is starting to get too hot, the winch will slow down to a low RPM. As the heat builds up in the motor, the winch begins to sound like it’s stalling.

If you continue to winch as the motor approaches stall speed, the contactor (which acts like a circuit breaker) will trip and shut off the motor to prevent permanent damage to your winch.

You’ll also know the motor is about to overheat if the motor is too hot to touch. Stop winching and let the motor rest until it is cool to the touch before you start winching again.

What if I need to keep winching for a long time?

In that case, you’ll need a hydraulic winch. Since hydraulic winches use power from your vehicle’s power steering pump, you can winch all day as long as the engine is running.

Hydraulic winches are best for farming, ranching, and commercial use. Some rig owners prefer hydraulic winches for offroad recovery, but the cost is higher than for electric winches and you’ll need to make sure your vehicle can handle the strain.

Keep Your Winch Working

ATV winch

Use your winch at least once a month, even if just to power the cable out and back in.

Use It or Lose It

We highly recommend using your winch regularly (at least once a month). Even if you don’t need to use the winch for anything, get the motor running and warmed up to keep the winch in good working condition.

Simply power the cable out 5 feet, spool out another 2 feet, and then power back in. This will keep all components in good working condition so that the winch will be ready to use when you need it.

Maintenance

Every so often, check the mounting bolts and electrical connections to make sure they are tight and free of corrosion or damage. Remove any dirt and corrosion that may have accumulated on the electrical connections.

Lubrication

The gearbox and drum bearings are permanently lubricated. No internal lubrication should be required for the life of the winch. Re-lubrication is necessary only after repair or disassembly.

Cable Safety

Always check the condition of the wire or synthetic cable before using. If there are signs of damage that could compromise the safety of the cable, do not use your winch until the cable is repaired or replaced.

Never substitute a heavier or lighter wire rope as a replacement. The rope should have the same diameter and load capacity as the original cable.

Electric Winch Troubleshooting Chart

Having trouble with your electric winch? Winch trouble can be caused by anything from letting the motor run too long to incorrect wiring to low battery power.

The chart below will help you figure out what is wrong with your winch, what’s causing the problem, and how to fix it.

Winch Troubleshooting Tips

Problem Possible Cause(s) Solution
Winch motor will not operate or runs in one direction only
  1. Switch inoperative or wired incorrectly
  2. Broken wires or bad connection
  3. Damaged winch motor
  1. Replace switch
  2. Check for poor connections
  3. Replace or repair winch motor
Winch motor runs extremely hot
  1. Long period of operation
  2. Damaged winch motor
  1. Allow to cool
  2. Replace or repair winch motor
Winch motor runs but with insufficient power or line speed
  1. Weak battery
  2. Battery to winch wire too long
  3. Poor battery connection
  4. Poor ground
  5. Damaged winch motor
  1. Recharge or replace battery; check charging system
  2. Keep winch within distance allowed by lead wires
  3. Check battery terminals for corrosion; clean as required
  4. Check and clean connections
  5. Replace or repair winch motor
Winch motor runs but drum doesn’t turn Clutch not engaged Engage clutch
Winch runs backwards
  1. Motor wires reversed
  2. Switch wires reversed
  3. Switch installed incorrectly
  1. Recheck wiring
  2. Recheck wiring
  3. Check switch installation
Winch will not hold load Excessive load Reduce load or double line

Wire Winch Rope Safety

Electric winch

Use the winch strap and leather gloves to spool out winch cable.

Handling wire winch rope is one of the hazards of using an electric winch. Although steel cable is rugged and durable in tough winching conditions, it can also be dangerous if handled carelessly. Here are a few tips on learning to handle wire winch rope safely.

Hand Protection

First off, protect your hands. Stray wires from the cable can tear up your skin if you’re not careful. Wear thick leather gloves any time you handle winch cable, and do not let the rope run through your hands. Grab hold of the winch saver strap to spool out cable, and use the hand-over-hand method to guide the cable back onto the spool.

Dampen the Cable

Although the chances of your winch cable breaking are low, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Dampen the winch cable by draping a heavy mover’s blanket or similar object over the rope. Place it about midway between the winch and the anchor point. Even a tree branch, heavy winter coat, or a length of chain draped over the winch cable will work in a pinch.

If the cable happens to break during the winching process, the extra weight will slow down the backlash effect. Just like a rubber band, your wire rope can snap back if broken. Besides dampening the cable, make sure bystanders are standing well out of the cable’s path. The winch operator should also be careful to stand out of the cable’s path as well. If you are operating the winch from inside your vehicle, consider raising the hood for an extra measure of protection in case the winch rope fails.

Winch Cable Replacement

Check your winch rope often for signs of damage. If your cable shows signs of deterioration beyond the usual wear and tear, replace the cable before using your winch again. For safer cable, consider switching to synthetic winch rope.