How to Repair a Winch

by Contributor

In order to repair a commercial grade winch, you must first deduce where the problem lies. It could be electrical, the clutch brake, or the gearbox. It may also be something as simple as the cable itself being damaged or the lube points not being properly lubricated.


Use an OHM meter to check the contacts in the winch or for a wire break.

Check the power from the control switch, especially if your winch is only moving in one direction.

Replace the switch if it is bad. Do not try to make repairs to it as it has a water-tight seal.

Clutch Brake

Clean the clutch pack thoroughly with a factory recommended solvent.

Check the clutch pack for breaks and/or wear and tear.

Replace damaged or worn pads. If the pads are in good condition, they may just require a simple adjustment.


Drain the oil from the gearbox if you are hearing a grinding noise or the winch will only operate in one direction (after you have ruled out an electrical problem).

Check the gears for worn or broken teeth. Replace the gears if needed.

Refill the oil with a factory specific brand.


Extend the cable to check for frays and/or kinks. Always replace a damaged winch cable as opposed to trying to make repairs.

Clean the cable with a factory recommended solvent, then add a light lubricant if it is free of any damage.

Re-spool the winch cable. If the winch is attached to a vehicle, hook the cable to a tree, put the vehicle into neutral and rewind slowly. Be sure to keep the winch cable properly stacked as it is re-spooling.


  • check Keep the winch properly maintained by making sure the controller is always clean and dry.
  • check Keep lube points clean and lightly greased with a factory specific lubricant.
  • check Be certain the mounting bolts are tight and are not worn or otherwise damaged.


  • close ALWAYS use gloves when handling the winch cable. It's best to hold it by the hook whenever possible.

Items you will need

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