How To Replace The Boat Winch Strap (10 Steps) in 2024

There will come a time when you will need to know how to replace the boat winch strap, whether it is from the sun, moisture, misuse, or simply from aging. 

In addition to frayed stitching, fading color, cuts, folds, tears, and twists, an ailing winch strap may suffer from any following problems. 

When it exhibits any of these symptoms, don’t wait until you’re in a rush, and it fails just when you’re most in need. You can easily replace the winch strap.

Firstly, ensure how to replace the boat winch strap and purchase the correct one for the winch rather than assuming it is installed correctly. 

The capacity of winch should be able to handle the load that is being pulled. It is typically stamped on the winch or can be obtained from the manufacturer. 

In addition, make sure that the strap you buy is rated for the same or greater strength than the winch, as well as that both the strap and the winch can handle the boat’s weight.

Make sure the winch is designed to be used with a webbing strap rather than a rope or cable. Winches for use with webbing straps have drum widths of 2 inches or wider and a diameter of fewer than 13/4 inches. 

A bolt (or a hole for a bolt) goes through spool’s both sides adjacent to the drum on webbing-strap winches. When under tension, the bolt threads through the loop sewn into the strap’s end to anchor it to the drum. 

A winch designed for rope use has only one hole on the side of the spool, through which the rope ends are threaded and knotted or wound around to facilitate anchoring. 

There is no bolt-on rope winch. The drum of a cable winch is typically at least 13/4 inches in diameter, without bolts, and maybe as narrow as 2 inches.

The winch strap deteriorates over time due to contact with sunlight, saltwater, or excessive tension. 

Nevertheless, the entire winch does not need to be replaced. It takes a few minutes only and is fairly inexpensive to replace a strap.

Once you have determined that your winch was designed to use a webbing strap and purchased the correct strap for your rig, replacing the strap is very easy. These are the steps of how to replace boat winch strap:

Also check: Best Boat Winch Strap

How to Replace the Boat Winch Strap

  1. Purchase the right strap

Perhaps you didn’t realize it, but not all straps are created equal. Trailers come in a variety of widths (usually 2″ or 3″), lengths (depending on how long the trailer is), and most importantly, load capacities. 

If you choose a boat, be sure to choose a model with a breaking load of at least 20% greater than your boat’s weight as a safety measure. 

Don’t take one that’s too short, obviously, but don’t take one too long because the strap won’t fit in the groove. The workload capacity of your winch is generally indicated elsewhere on it. 

If you are unsure, you can consult the instructions that came with it. Finally, do not use a strap as a substitute for a cable. The winch is not constructed for this.

  1. Discard the old strap

Unroll the old strap completely without letting your fingers get tangled.

  1. Remove the central bolt

There is a bolt at the center of the strap that holds it in place. The bolt-acting axis may be in question or another slightly off-center axis. 

Turn off power to the bolt and remove the nuts. Because of the corrosion, the nuts might resist a little. For this reason, we recommend WD 40.

  1. Remove the bolt from the central section and examine it

Once you remove the bolt, remove the strap and the bolt from the winch. It may be necessary to use a box cutter to cut the strap at the shaft if it is too old, so make sure the strap is in good shape. 

If corrosion has attacked the strap, it needs to be removed. When the strap looks bad, you should replace it.

  1. Organize your home

Ensure there is no corrosion in the winch cage after the bolt has been removed. 

The galvanized coating can be pre-galvanized if the cold galvanizing process damages it. The center bolt should be pre-galvanized as well.

  1. Activate the hook

A new hook is included with most straps. Additionally, make sure that you insert the hook into the strap loop if this is not the case. Keeping the strap flat will help prevent any tangles.

  1. Put the new strap in place

Slide the bolt into the winch cage and the loop sewn into the strap simultaneously. As the axis needs to remain mobile, tighten the nuts of the central bolt without tightening them too hard.

  1. Set the new strap in motion

With the winch drum crank, wrap the new strap around it. Be sure that the straps are wound neatly, remaining flat and wrinkle-free.

  1. Place the strap around the boat

Don’t forget to attach the hook to the boat’s ring before you finish winding the strap. Ensure that the winch locking pawl is working properly by winding it until it is tight.

  1. Grease the winch lightly before finishing

In addition, spray some lubricant on the mechanical part of the winch. You will have a much easier time handling it.

Also learn: How to use winch strap


The webbing strap on your boat’s winch shouldn’t be merely reversing, rather than being replaced, the same way you might do with the line on your fishing reel. 

If the webbing is old enough to show wear at the working end, there is a great chance that the material has still suffered some wear in the body, even if you trim away the worn end before reversing and reusing the strap. 

Additionally, you’d have to stitch a new hook into the boat end and sew a new loop onto the anchor end. 

If you can find an awning shop that can do heavy-duty stitching, the expenses and suspense you suffer from a patchwork job pale in comparison to the knowledge that you now have a new connection between your boat and its trailer.

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As an avid off-road enthusiast, I know firsthand the importance of having a reliable winch. That's why I created WinchAdvice – to help fellow off-roaders like myself make informed decisions when selecting their next winch. So whether you're an experienced pro or a beginner just starting out, my website offers valuable advice and guidance on all things winching.

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