If you’re going off-roading, your packing list probably includes snacks, drinks, clothes that can get dirty, a first aid kit, and spare tires. Another essential item is a winch, which controls a rope or cord that you can use to pull cars out of ditches and mud puddles. Here’s why you need a winch and how you should maintain it.

Power Winches for Easy Escape

Winches give you enough leverage to pull your truck or equipment out of a dangerous position. Directions vary with each model, but generally, you attach one end of a cable to the item and turn the crank. 

When you’re using a winch during an off-roading trip, it’s probably because you drove your truck into some mud or went off a small cliff into a ravine. As a result, getting your truck out of its rut quickly is essential. Using motorized winches from brands such as ProComp allows you to retrieve the truck without straining your muscles or breaking your winch’s cranking mechanism. 

Proper Winch Maintenance

Whether you have a mechanical or power winch, you must take care of your equipment if you want it to help you. Before you leave, make sure that your winch is properly bolted to your truck and that all the moving components have plenty of grease. If you have a motorized winch, ensure that all the wires are still coated and that no electrical connections are exposed. Your cable should be wrapped tightly, with no slack hanging down.

After you use your Smittybilt Winch X20 or whichever model you prefer, remove all dust and dirt to prevent corrosion. Then, let the line and crank dry completely before winding them again. Every two to three months (and especially if you haven’t used it for a while), loosen your winch and then crank the rope or wire back. Inspect every inch for frayed rope or metal and replace your cord immediately if necessary.

Safety First

Winches are an extra level of protection on the road, but if you don’t use them correctly, you could put yourself in even greater danger. If possible, get another person to help you so that they can watch out for potential hazards. Never touch the winch’s cord with your bare hands, as it could have metal shards or be extremely warm from the tension. Once the winch starts moving, stand at least a few feet away, and never stand over it.

When using your winch to retrieve your own truck, avoid anchoring it to a tree so that you don’t kill it and hurt yourself. Instead, pack a specially-designed winch weight.

As your winch moves your truck out of its predicament, remember how heavy your equipment is. For example, 37 inch tires designed for off-roading will hurt a lot if they roll over your feet. Always stay aware and ready to turn off your winch.

No matter how much off-roading you’ve done, having a winch keeps you safe and allows you to help fellow off-roaders. Hit the backroads with confidence by purchasing a high-quality winch today.