Winches have got stronger, lighter and faster with the advancements of modern technology over the years. For lighter and faster operation, there have been so many changes in the operating tools as well. The most controversial tool among them is the synthetic rope for winches. Synthetic winch ropes are way easier to handle as they are significantly lighter in weight and easy to move around.
That’s why the synthetic ropes are very popular among the off-road enthusiasts and the tow-truckers. However, despite the synthetic rope comes with some great advantages, it has some disadvantages as well. I will get you some ideas about the pros and cons of synthetic ropes that will help you decide if you should switch your winch to synthetic rope or not.
Factors to consider while switching to synthetic ropes
Synthetic ropes are made to make winching easier in every way. If you are confused about the performance compared to steel wire, here are the factors that you should take into account:
When you are getting a winch, the included steel wire is not really strong enough when you compare it to modern high-quality synthetic ropes. The synthetic ropes are way stronger than most of the steel cables in most cases. However, the strong synthetic ropes also break down in some cases, such as when you are winching on rocks or mountains. They often break down because of the contact and rubbing against the harsh rock surface.
Although the ropes come with a sleeve to cover up the rubbing portion of the rope, that cannot cover it all sometimes. If the bare rope comes into contact with the harsh rock, they are not as strong as a steel wire. In this criteria, winches with steel wires, especially the once that come with heavy-duty steel cable such as Badland, do a great job. Make sure you go through some Review Of The Badland before deciding to purchase one. You can click here to read some reviews of the badland.
When it comes to weather resistance, steel wires and synthetic ropes both have their shortcomings. Synthetic ropes are not that much weather resistant, they are prone to direct sunlight and heat. Direct heat will make the rope brittle and riding through mud and sandy soil will also harm it as well. Rope can also hold water inside and freeze if you are living in such are. On the other hand, steel cable is prone to water or humidity, it gets rusty over time and damages are more often. To avoid immediate damage to both of the cables, you need to inspect them pretty often and keep them out of danger.
Synthetic ropes are way lighter than Steel cables, which makes the carrying easier for the truck and yourself. Another added advantage of synthetic rope is it will be easier to haul and free spool. In these criteria, synthetic ropes will overpower the steel cables without any real competition. However, be very sure to use safety gloves and other gears while operating the winch cables either it’s rope or steel.
When you are operating a winch, the biggest concern is the safety of yourself and your truck. An accident with a cable under load can kill you within a fraction of a second. This is why proper safety guideline is a must-follow while operating a winch, especially with a steel cable. Steel cables are often deadly when they break down while under full pressure. When it happens with rope, it will injure you badly, that’s for sure, but it won’t cut you in half, which is possible with steel wire. Placing a Winch Line Dampener in the middle of the cable while operating may help you big time.
There are people who believe that you cannot repair a steel cable if breaks down. Well, that’s not entirely true, rather you can repair a steel cable after it breaks down, it will just take the right tool and knowledge. You have to experience it before you do it in real situations though! Now, synthetic rope, on the other hand, is way easier to repair once broken with less knowledge. But, mending or repairing a broken cable whether it’s steel or rope, should be a temporary solution.
If you are trying to get a new winch, you will see that the new winches that come with rope, cost more. In that case, if the budget is a matter, you will more likely stick to the conventional steel cable winches. Another thing is, you will have to take very good care and change the synthetic rope every few years. keeping a steel wire on mint condition will take less effort and it’s more reliable despite being less safe.
If you are switching from steel to rope
This part is for you If you are currently using a winch with a steel cable to it and planning to switch to a synthetic rope. If that’s the case, but the fairlead and the roller are going to be there in the same place, inspect these:
You’ve been using your steel cable for quite a while, so the steel cable might have left scratch, burr or made sharp edges on the fairlead, pulley blocks or the rollers. When you will change the cable and install new ropes, the rope’s integrity may get compromised right when you install it. Because of the sharp edges and if the roller isn’t responsive enough, the rope will be torn with no noticeable change. But while in an operation, it will be a big reason for a bigger catastrophe.
To sum up the whole thing, I can say that if you have the patience of taking frequent care of your cable, synthetic rope is the one for you. Because if you can keep the rope clean after every off-road trip, it will last you a really long time. Plus, using a synthetic rope is a way safer option compared to steel when it comes to safe operation. But if you are more into a budget-friendly mode, need more sturdy material to rely on, steel wire is better for you. The same applies if you are living in a hot geographical area where the sun and the weather are not friendly to synthetic rope.