The synthetic materials industry has made its way to boat winches, and we’re happy they’re here! While steel rope still has its purpose for some winches, boats can often get by with its modern nylon compatriot in their winches.
Why do we like nylon winch straps?
The material is lightweight and easier to wind. Even heavy duty straps are reasonably light, like this one that has a 10,000-pound break strength and 3,300-pound working load and only weighs eight pounds! Unlike steel rope, it is less likely to get odd kinks as it is wrapped around the drum and this in turn lessens the probability of odd internal wearing.
What are the negatives of nylon winch straps?
Nylon winch straps are more prone to wear from the elements and from constant abrasion. Regularly checking the strap for fraying and tearing will prevent an accident the next time you use your winch, and will give you a nice heads up for knowing when you need to purchase a new one.
These three questions may seem obvious, but amidst the busy summer hauling, it can be easy to overlook your winch and its health. By regularly running through this list, you can ensure maximum efficiency and safety when using your trailer winch.
Is there obvious wire wear? Whether you’re using a wire or synthetic material, your winch strap will wear out. Some damage is more obvious than others though, so regularly check your strap for wears, tears, kinks, frays, or weakened spots to make sure it doesn’t snap and cause an accident.
Are there any leaks, rust, or other damage to the drum? If your strap is the arm of the winch, then the drum is the muscle. You want to make sure that it is in tip-top shape for hauling your load up. Time and elements, as well as any sort of impact, can damage your winch, so be sure to keep an eye on it and keep it clean, dry, and protected.
Am I using the proper parts for this specific model? Not all winches are equal. Different manufacturers and different models have different intended purposes – and different parts to go with them. Always check to make sure that you’re using the right kind of lubricant, that it is okay to use a specific type of strap, and that there aren’t additional variables that you should be aware of. If you don’t have your user’s manual, check the manufacturer’s website: some provide model manuals online.
You’ve invested a lot in your trailer, and you want the longest life from its features that you can get. Daily wear and ordinary circumstances can take a toll on it, however, and knowing how to maintain and care for parts like a winch is important to securing the overall durability of your product.
Know how to respool your wire; kinked line can rapidly wear out
Check your wire frequently for wearing or fraying
Replace wire rope every six months if regularly used – even if it looks intact. Internal damage might not be visible but can be caused with uneven stressing (similar to tire wear)
Lubricate your drum at least once a season (lubricants are often specified in user manuals)
Protect your winch from the elements as much as possible. Sunlight, rain, and snow can all cause damage long term, so even a tarp thrown over your winch is better than nothing at all
There are some things that your boat trailer can do without, but winches would not be one we’d recommend leaving behind. Generally used to haul or hold objects into place, winches are widely used and hugely helpful for owners of large vehicles such as trucks, boats, and off-roaders.
How do winches work?
Winches are pulling mechanisms. Their power comes from winding wire around a drum at a steady tension and pace. Depending on the winch and its intended purpose, those two basic elements (the drum and the wire) may come in a variety of materials, sizes, and even shapes. This affects their load and hauling capacity.
Because winches differentiate so widely, we recommend you read your manual closely upon purchase, so that you are aware of any variations in its style and material. Always be sure to check whether or not you’re getting the right winch for the job, or you may be replacing it sooner than you think.
What are its uses?
Whether or not you’re familiar with winches or not, you might be surprised how commonly winches are used. Tow trucks utilize heavy towing winches to pull cars and other vehicles that have had mechanical failures on a road. Often times, four-wheelers and other off-roading vehicles will use winches to pull themselves out of mud. Truck owners might use a winch to haul stuff onto their bed, making loading faster and easier.
And, of course, boat owners love using winches to help tow their boats!