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Are You Killing Your 4WD’s Winch?

July 20, 2020   |   By Liam Arthur Are You Killing Your 4WD’s Winch? - image winching-the-line on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

Having a winch on the front of your 4WD is an incredible advantage when it comes to tackling tough low-range tracks. Whether you’re the kind of 4WDer who actively seeks out the toughest hillclimbs and deepest bogholes, or you’re an adventurer who loves seeking out those picture-perfect campsites, a quality 4WD winch gives you the confidence to successfully drive any low-range track. Your 4×4 winch could easily be the difference between a 10 minute recovery and a funny story for later on at camp, or being stuck for hours by yourself with no-one around to help.

Here’s the thing though – even if you have the best 4WD winch around like the , if you don’t know how to use it then you can very possibly damage it or even ruin your winch. An offroad winch is a tool, and like all tools it demands respect and needs to be used in the correct fashion. Let’s look at some of the ways that 4WDers risk 4×4 winch damage, and how you can avoid that damage.


1. NEVER LET YOUR 12,000LB WINCH ‘STALL OUT’


PROBLEM: ‘Stalling out’ a 4WD winch is the single worst thing that you can do to it, if you care about long winch service life! This is when you’re performing a 4WD winch recovery, but you get to a stage where your winch doesn’t have enough power to pull you any further forward, even while you keep your finger on the ‘winch in’ button. In that scenario, what you’re doing is sending all that electrical power from your alternator and your battery to very specific contact points on your electric winch motor, which can easily burn those contact points out.


SOLUTION: The solution to stalling your winch out is to understand that as strong as a 12,000lb winch is, it’s still not going to be able to winch you through some situations. If your 4WD winch stalls out, immediately let go of the “winch in” button and re-assess why you aren’t moving forward any further. It may be that you need to do a double-line winch recovery, which is where you use a snatch block or pulley block to double the winch cable or winch rope back around to your vehicle. This provides a mechanical advantage that doubles the pulling power of your 4×4 winch, meaning that you’re more likely to be able to pull yourself through the mud or over that rock. The other option is to back off your winch, and do some track-building to assist your 4WD winch in pulling you up and over that big hole or rock step, rather than pull you down into it.


2. ALWAYS TREAT YOUR SYNTHETIC WINCH ROPE WITH RESPECT!


PROBLEM: Synthetic winch rope is incredible stuff – it’s amazingly strong, yet is lightweight and easy to handle. Synthetic winch rope is an excellent winch upgrade option as it doesn’t store anywhere near the kinetic or potential energy at full tension that old-style steel winch cable stores. However, synthetic winch rope’s one downside is that it can be damaged by being dragged over sharp obstacles like rocks or broken tree roots. Over time as your synthetic winch rope gets used for 4WD recovery missions, it will naturally wear and start to fray. The other thing you should be aware of when using synthetic winch rope, is when you’re done with a 4WD recovery, it may be bunched up tightly wound around one side of your 4WD winch. This means that the next time you go to use your 12,000lb winch, you’ll have a hard time un-knotting it so you can perform another winch recovery.


SOLUTION: The solution to synthetic winch rope problems is to always treat your winch rope with respect! Don’t simply let it drag on the ground during a 4WD winch recovery. If you have to, use a floor matt, a jacket or even a piece of cardboard underneath the synthetic winch rope to prevent it from wearing against the hard ground. This will go a long way to ensuring that your winch recovery is performed successfully, and that you won’t have to worry about your 4WD winch not working when you need it to. The other trick to extending winch rope life is to un-spool it all the way out after every 4WD recovery, and the carefully and neatly re-spool it back in again. This ensures that your winch rope won’t bunch up to one side of the 4×4 winch drum, and the next time you need to use your 4WD winch, it will be ready!

3. NOT USING YOUR OFFROAD WINCH COULD BE KILLING IT!


PROBLEM: Like any piece of mechanical gear, a 4WD winch works best when it is used regularly. Whilst most quality 4×4 winches like the Domin8r Xtreme Winch feature extremely effective and strong waterproof seals to prevent water and mud entry, sometimes even the best 12,000lb winch will get water in it. This is especially true if you use your winch to the point where it heats up, and then gets dunked in cold mud or water. As the winch body cools against the cold mud or water, the metal contracts which can allow water entry. Water inside your winch will quickly kill it – it will mix with the grease within the 4WD winch’s gearbox, and will also start to rust out the electrical contacts on your electrical winch’s motor and prevent proper flow of electricity from your battery and alternator. Thankfully the solution is simple!


SOLUTION: The easiest way to ensure your 4WD winch works for you when you need it to, is to regularly use it! That doesn’t mean you have to go and deliberately get bogged, however. It could be as easy as un-spooling your winch all the way out once a month, and then taking the time to respool it back in again. When you do regular 4WD winch maintenance like this, the internal components of your 4×4 winch turn and rotate, and have an opportunity to warm up. This is an excellent idea to prolong your 4WD winch service life! Make a habit of it when you wash your 4WD, or at least once a month if you don’t wash it that often, and your 12000lb winch will be faithfully ready for work whenever you need it.

To see the full range of 4WD recovery equipment and capable 4WD winches to get your 4WD off to the best tracks and most hardcore conditions, head into one of our 4WDSupacentre showrooms to speak with our resident team of experts, or you can even call us on 1800 88 39 64 or visit our website at www.4WDSupacentre.com.au to see all the latest bargains.