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4 Things You Should Know About Synthetic Winch Ropes

If you’re searching for an alternative to your steel winch ropes, then synthetic winch ropes might be the solution for you! Synthetic winch ropes are fast becoming a popular alternative to steel as they are significantly lighter, easy to handle and convenient to store. Each type of winch rope has its own set of pros and cons, but the jury is still out on which type of winch rope is better. 

Read on to find out four things you should know about synthetic winch ropes and how to use them!

How long does synthetic winch rope last?

How long a synthetic winch rope will last is dependent on the owner and the way they use their winch. Assuming your rope is in good working condition, 10 years is usually the suggested replacement period. 

A good rule of thumb is to assume that your synthetic rope will lose approximately 1.5-2% of its rated capacity every year. This would mean that a ten (10) year old rope will have lost approximately 15-20% of its rated capacity, which is a solid indicator that you should replace it. 

Other signs you should replace your synthetic rope include; visible cuts, frays, abrasion, heat/UV damage and broken strands.

Can you put synthetic rope on any winch?

This will depend on the construction of the rope. We recommend you check with your manufacturer or retailer what type of winches your synthetic winch rope is compatible with. 

It’s important to know that the heat generated by the internal brake assembly on ‘low mount’ winch types can be enough to cause heat damage to the fibres of a synthetic winch rope, causing it to lose its strength. This is obviously not desirable, therefore synthetic winch rope is not recommended for use on these type of winches. Winches with external brake assemblies such as ‘high mount’ winches don’t suffer from a build-up of heat in the drum and will easily accept the use of synthetic rope. At Schillings Hoisting Equipment, our range of winches includes Davit & Backsaver Cranes, Electric Winches, Hand Winches and a range of Winch Rope.

How to attach synthetic rope to a winch

The following is a suggested guide for installing your new synthetic winch rope. The process may vary depending on the type of winch you own.

1. Disconnect the winch hook

2. Remove the fairlead

3. Disengage the winch motor

4. Remove the old winch line from the spool

5. Inspect the winch drum and fairlead for any required maintenance/repairs

6. Mount the new synthetic rope to the winch drum

7. Engage the winch motor

8. Spool the synthetic rope carefully on to the winch drum

9. Install the fairlead and winch hook

10. Install a bump stop

11. Install the winch hook

How to spool synthetic winch rope

To ensure long life and maximise safety it’s important to correctly spool your synthetic winch rope. The following is a suggested guide for spooling your synthetic winch rope on a vehicle. The process may vary depending on your winch. You will require two (2) people for this process.

1. Ensure you’re wearing protective gloves and that the winch is in the ‘clutch engaged’ position, not ‘free spool’.


2. Begin with the synthetic winch rope fully extended and tensioned “under load”. This will make for a neater, safer spool. Also, make sure your anchor is solid enough to provide resistance for the winch (e.g. another heavy vehicle).


3. The person in the vehicle will gently apply pressure to the vehicle’s brake. Enough pressure that the winch can be spooled under load, but not so much that the wheels begin slipping or the anchor becomes impacted. While this happens, the other person will be in front of the winch guiding the winch rope carefully on to the winch drum.


4. The first 2-3 layers of winch rope should be spooled on as neatly as possible. After that (and depending on the length of your rope and space on your drum), spool the synthetic winch rope in a criss-cross fashion, this reduces the chance of the rope “biting down” on itself or becoming knotted when you need to use it next.


5. Once you come to the end of your rope, store the winch hook neatly. Done!

Inspired to invest in some new synthetic winch rope? Look no further than Schillings for all of your Winch Rope and Winch needs! Our synthetic winch ropes are high strength with a lift capacity ranging from 9 to 11.7 tonnes. We manufacture our winch ropes in-house to your specific requirements, fast turnaround guaranteed. We can even fit a winch rope while you wait! Get in touch with the team at Schillings today to find out more.


For all of your Hoisting and Rigging equipment call Schillings today on 1800 724 455. From Electric hoists and gantry cranes, to load monitoring or chain block and tackle - whatever you need, we can assist!


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