How To Lube Winch Cable: Things You Have To Know

Often gets asked, how to lube winch cable? Well, it’s quite a common question these days. Though it’s not that peculiar to get the job done. Whatsoever, not everyone has the same level of knowledge, and they end up suffering. 

However, mate, in this article, I will direct you in terms of the lubrication process of winch cables or wire ropes.

So that you don’t fall for the inconvenience the next time this very question comes across your mind. Get yourself with the flow and obtain everything. 

Let’s get started without further ado…

Should You Lubricate A Winch Cable

There’s a saying that goes like this- “the lifespan of your winch cable is directly proportional to the effectiveness of its maintenance.”

As in, no matter what your winch cable endures, it won’t be the same effective in terms of performance if you fail to render it with proper maintenance.

Now, you might be wondering how to keep it under maintenance, right? The answer is straightforward, by providing it with enough lubrication. So yes, the answer is affirmative all the way. 

Nonetheless, the maintenance process firstly requires utter lubrication of winch cables because the core part of the winch wire forms rust and corrosion easily.

Despite being lubricated during the manufacturing process, the core part gets wrecked over the time being.

And the most ironic part is that you won’t get to monitor this vandalisation that easily. You will see that the cable is okay all the way, but on the inside, it will get degraded day by day. 

To sum up, it’s a mandatory task to lube the winch wire. If you don’t, you might not be able to keep the performance rate constant. And nobody wants that, to be honest. 

How To Lube Winch Cable 

In order to lube winch cable, you must have to get yourself a good-grade lubricating oil firstly. If you fail to get it, then the entire process would turn into nothing but a harrowing waste of time.

Now, what type of lube should you choose? In my opinion, you should go for the typical lubes that have been manufactured for lubricating winch cable or similar types of wire ropes. 

In the USA, many users typically use multi-purpose oils as their lube. It’s quite wrong. Because these kinds of oils won’t stick to the surface for an adequate amount of time, though they get into the core, they won’t last there.

So, there’s no logical reason to use them. However, using extra-thick grease oils is also futile. Because they will surely fail to penetrate the surface of your winch cable; if they couldn’t penetrate, it won’t get to the core.

So, the objective isn’t getting fulfilled. 

However, here’s to a brief process that will direct you to the lubrication of your winch cable- 

What You’ll Need

  • A cleaning brush
  • A good-grade lubricating oil (try to grab a moderately thin one. Don’t go for too thin ones whatsoever) 

There’s that. Let’s get to the process… 

Cleaning the Wire Rope 

Don’t get freaked. In many countries, the winch cable is named “wire rope,” I’m just using that. However, to get the most out of the lubrication- firstly, you need to clean the winch cable gently.

Because it might consist of some foreign element that could react with the applied lubricant, if it really does the same, things will get downward. 

In the case of fiber-forming ropes, this problem will get much more dramatic. But that’s the worst-case scenario. In terms of most of the winch cables, they are made up of steel or steel-like materials. 

Firstly, take any kind of cleaning material (water or could be any kind of absorbent material) and apply it to the surface of the winch cable. You can apply it with a cleaning brush.

In this way, the cleaning material will get distributed evenly all over the surface. After this, let the cable soak. Don’t even dare to initiate the next step until the cable soaks completely. 

Applying the Lube 

Assuming the wire got dried to the hilt and it’s time for kicking off the main procedure as in applying the lube. I would like to remind you that the selection process of lube is very important.

Don’t go for too thick ones, don’t go for extra thin either. You can use the same cleaning brush for this step as well. The main objective of using the brush is that when you slide the brush, the lube materials will get distributed evenly on the surface.

And another is that the lube molecules will make themselves penetrate successfully onto the core of the wire.

After applying lubes, you can directly go towards operating with the winch. You won’t need to give it more time to get soaked. There’s that! 

This was the most straightforward lubrication trick that you will ever get somewhere else on the internet. However, there are many other processes that you can apply.

But this one’s the most simple and straightforward. Fingers crossed! 

What Is The Best Spray Lube for Winch Cables 

As I already mentioned in different portions of the article, selecting the proper lube is one of the most important criteria for giving your cables the utmost lubrication. If you somehow fail to choose the top-notch one, you won’t get the desired perfection. 

Nonetheless, to get yourself the top-notch lubricating oil, try to consider its density. If it is too dense, try not to go for it. If it is way too thin, don’t go for it instead. Only if the lube is moderately thick and somewhere between thick and thin, go grab that.

Also, try to purchase the spray lube because following this won’t require you the cleaning brush. When you spray the lube, it will automatically get distributed all over the surface. 

Here’s to some trustworthy lubricants that you can try- 

Both of these two are equally good in terms of quality. You can go for either of these two! Best of luck, mate. 

How To Maintain Winch Cable

Rendering the winch cable with an adequate amount of lubricant is the predominant step in maintaining a winch cable.

However, you can maintain it following more criteria. Here’s to the step- 

  • Carefully inspect all the thread points and if you find any loose points, tighten them. 
  • Clean the cable after every operation. 
  • Though it’s hard to monitor, corrosion and rust might form into the core of the cable. No matter if you can’t detect the corrosion, maintain it and carefully inspect this very thing. 
  • Inspect all the electrical connections, including battery and other power sources. 

In this way, you can maintain your winch wire and boost the lifetime of it into times. 


How do you lubricate synthetic rope?

Putting lube on the synthetic rope isn’t that type, and you won’t be able to do that following our prescribed way. You can fill a bucket with water and mild soap and pass the rope within it. In this way, the rope should have gotten lubricated. 

What are the positive effects of using lubricants on wires or ropes?

The main perk is that when you implement the lube on your wire, the wire can fight against the rust and corrosion that forms into its core. And it works like a silent killer. Day by day, these rusts destroy the winch wire from the inside. When you apply the lube, this very problem gets solved. 

Do winches need oil?

Not really, lubes can do the job on their own. 


It’s farewell time, mate. Till now, I tried to guide you on how to lube winch cable, and I pretty much assume that I’ve covered everything regarding it. Nonetheless, if anything still seems cliche, you’re requested to re-read the article.

And if it’s not, kindly share this guide with your friends and mates. So that they can gather the same knowledge as you do. 

Pax Vobiscum, and All The Very Best To You! 

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

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