I bought Warn’s Neoprene winch cover and am very glad I did. It fits great, looks great, and protects the grill from contact with the winch. Also, being that I live in the Northeast, I don’t want road salt and grime being constantly thrown onto my winch and cable. You must treat the cover periodically with supplied 303 waterproofing/sun protection.
The cable needs no lubrication. It’s galvanized. Anything you put on will only attract dirt. I have verified this with both Warn and the US Air Force.
Don’t store the cable by hooking it to the side like you commonly see. That 90° bend is not good for cables. Instead, spool the cable up as close as possible to the fairlead without making contact under power or you’ll bend the rollers. You can turn it the last few inches by hand if you like.
I like it stored this way as I mounted my license plate right to the rollers using two Mag Light mounting brackets screwed right to the plate. It’s cheap and easy. Plus, the plate will block the aforementioned road salt and grime from entering the front bumper all winter and getting on my cable.
Stretching and Re-spooling Your Cable
The winch ships with the cable all nice and neatly wound up. Take a picture if you want to look at it this way, because you have to unwind it all and re-spool it under 1,000lbs of load. The Warn instructions and web site give step by step instructions on this process. You really do want to practice and play with the winch before you hit the trail. You don’t want to get the feel of how it works when you’re stuck at a Jeep Jamboree with a crowd of people around you anxiously awaiting the action.
And finally, a word on safety. Because I usually wheel with my young kids around, I was very concerned about the safety aspect of a steel cable versus a synthetic line. After extensive research, I learned that there are actually many safety advantages to steel over synthetic.