So, you’ve bought a winch for your ATV and you are ready to get out on the trails and test your newest tool. To get the most use out of your winch, you need to take the time to understand its operation. First, read your winch’s owner’s manual.
The general operating principles and techniques are the same for most winches. To start, you should read the owner’s/operator’s manual supplied with your winch and review all of its safety and use warnings. Next, you should familiarize yourself with your winch and each of its components, referring to the owner’s manual as needed. Then, practice using your winch before using it on the trail. Most importantly, take your time when using your winch and always follow the manufacturer’s safety recommendations.
In a typical winch, the electric motor provides power to the reduction gear mechanism, which turns the winch drum and winds the wire rope. A winch is equipped with a brake and a clutch. The brake automatically engages the winch drum when the winch motor is stopped and there is load on the wire rope. The clutch allows the winch drum to be disengaged from the drive train, enabling the drum to rotate freely. A winch has a set of electrical controls and a remote control, which allows you to stand well clear of the wire rope while operating the winch.
Be sure that your winch’s mounting system and your ATV’s frame can accommodate the rated load of your winch. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you consult your Honda dealer to select and install your winch.
Winches are useful for a number of applications. In addition to pulling your ATV out of the mud, back on the trail or over slippery rocks, winches can be used to remove fallen logs or trees that block the trail. There are many utility uses as well, including pulling firewood, running fence line, and positioning equipment. Your winch owner’s manual will have step-by-step instructions for tackling these jobs.
The most important part of the winching process is what you do before you pull. Always take your time to plan your pull and operate the winch. Be sure to use the right equipment and winch accessories for your situation. Always wear leather gloves and do not allow the wire rope to slide through your hands. You, and only you, should handle the wire rope and operate the remote control switch. In some situations, another person may be needed to lend assistance. Check your owner’s manual for suggested hand signals that will allow you to communicate precisely and easily with your partner. Remember, think safety at all times and practice, practice, practice.
Properly maintaining your winch will provide years of trouble-free service. Keep the winch, wire rope, control box and remote control free from contaminants. Use a clean rag or towel to remove any dirt and debris before storing your ATV. A light-duty oil used on the wire rope and winch hook can keep rust and corrosion from forming. A winch is powered by your ATV’s battery, so be sure your battery is properly charged and don’t forget to maintain your battery and battery cables as well.
These general guidelines do not cover all the procedures necessary to operate a winch. So, be sure to review the recommended operating and maintenance procedures in your winch owner’s manual. Used properly, a good winch will last a long time and help provide even more off-road riding enjoyment on your ATV.
Editor’s Note: Every winching situation has the potential for personal injury. In order to minimize that risk, it is important that you read and understand the owner’s manual for your winch before you use it. Apply good judgment and be alert to maintain a safe working environment.