Winch cables don’t last forever, and when they do fail the results are often catastrophic and/or costly. This is why cable inspection and maintenance are vitally important.

While most winch cables (also known as ‘wire rope’) are lubricated during the manufacturing process, the factory-applied lube is only adequate for the initial storage of the cable, as well as the early stages of its service life.

Correct winch-cable lubrication is important for two reasons:

  1. It reduces friction between the individual wire strands.
  2. It provides protection against corrosion.


Typically speaking, winch cables fail at their core. This is because the inner portion of the cable is often poorly lubricated and prone to corrosion. To make matters worse: Core corrosion is difficult to see and monitor, which makes rust prevention that much more critical as there’s no way of knowing when the rope will fail!

“Core corrosion is difficult to see and monitor, which makes rust prevention that much more critical”

On that note, there are two types of cable lubrication: External and internal. For the reasons mentioned above, it’s crucial that a high-quality penetrating oil is used when lubricating a winch cable. However, it should be noted that overly thin lubes (such as most multi-purpose oils) tend to dry out quickly and are not ideal for winch-cable maintenance.

In contrast, grease-like lubricants are generally too thick to adequately penetrate the cable’s core. They also have a tendency to gather dirt and lead to further maintenance issues. 

Most winch cables fail from the inside due to incorrect lubrication that’s unable to penetrate the cable’s core. While the cable may look healthy on the outside, the inner core may be significantly weakened due to rust and corrosion. This is why it’s important to use a dedicated oil that deeply protects the cable from the inside out.

The ideal lubricant should be thin in its application, but then have the ability to drive out moisture, protect against corrosion, and quickly solidify into a more adhesive state.

What’s more, the lubricant should be clear in colour. This makes it easier to inspect the cable in the future for potential fraying.

That said, the lifespan of your winch cable is directly proportional to the effectiveness of its maintenance, and if lubricated correctly, the service life of the cable should more than double.

Thankfully, CRC Industries’ boasts a ‘Chain & Wire Rope Lubricant’ that’s specifically formulated for winch cables. This special blend of synthetic lubricants, solvents and Molybdenum, are designed to keep hard-working chains and cables in peak operating condition.

CRC’s ‘Chain & Wire Rope Lubricant’ is clear in colour, deep penetrating, and because the formula is petroleum based, will help to clean the cable as the lube is applied.

What’s more, thanks to the product’s incredibly fast evaporation rate, the lube quickly thickens after application and deeply coats each wire strand with a non-drying protective film and lubricant.


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Click here for more information on CRC Industries’ ‘Chain & Wire Rope Lubricant’, or to find a supplier near you.

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