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Winch Maintenance

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Routine maintenance is a necessary activity to keep an operator’s tow vehicle in top condition.  We all try to keep our trucks clean, change the oil in the truck, maintain tire pressure, etc., but with a business to run how many of us take the time to service one of the most important components, the hydraulic winch.  

Each winch manufacturer has its own preventative maintenance schedule so it’s important to consult your owner’s manual.   Schedules can vary quite a bit between brands.

For instance, Warn’s schedule is quite simple.  Semi-annually or after each 25 hours of use the following items need to be inspected:  Verify mounting bolts are still at the proper torque and have no damage, plus hydraulic connections must be tight and free of corrosion.  Periodically clean and grease brake assembly as well as keep winch free of dirt, oil and water.  Before each use visually check wire rope for damage such as cuts, fraying, broken strands, knots or mashed and if found replace the wire rope.

Ramsey breaks its preventative maintenance schedule into weekly, monthly and annual checks.  The weekly inspection includes checking the oil level, refilling if needed, and repairing the source of the leak.   Make sure the pressure relief plug is operating.  Lubricate the wire rope.  Monthly maintenance includes lubricating the grease fittings in the drum, end bearing and clutch linkages.  Inspect the sliding clutch action so it’s fully engaged and the jaws are not worn.  Make sure all grade 5 winch mounting bolts are present, properly tightened and not damaged.  Check torque setting of oil cooled worm brake.  Inspect the wire rope and if damaged, replace.  Annual maintenance includes draining the winch oil, flushing with kerosene and re-filling with EP 140 gear oil.  Inspecting the winch frame and surrounding structure for cracks or deformation.  Rocking the drum back and forth will help to estimate gear wear.

Following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule will keep your winch in top condition and help prevent breakdowns on the road.     

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