Wire Cable vs Polyethylene – Why You Should Go Synthetic

No More Wire Cable Wear

With the new technology in 4 wheel parts, supplies, and accessories, you have a viable alternative to the standard wire rope cable for your winch. Can you say “ultra high molecular weight polyethylene fiber” or, UHMWPE? If not, just remember synthetic winch rope. Combine it with a fairlead of anodized aluminum, and you get rid of the problem of wire cable wear once and for all.

Smittybilt Synthetic Winch Rope

For less than $200, you can purchase quality synthetic winch rope from Smittybilt...but is it really better than wire cable?

Get More Fiber In Your Winch Diet

Here’s how it’s made. They take the polyethylene fiber and braid it into a 12 strand rope. They coat it with colored urethane, and not only is it much stronger than wire rope; it’s also more flexible and even floats. One user reports that 125 feet of this rope weighed just 3 pounds. 5/16″ rope is rated at 13,700 lbs average strength at a cost of $1.45 a foot. 5/16” wire rope is rated at an average of 8,800 lbs. And 3/8” rope rates considerably higher at 20,445 lbs. compared to the same sized wire rope which rates at 12,800 lbs. Works great…less filling.

With minimum stretch, even if the synthetic rope breaks, it falls to the ground without snapping back in your face like wire rope. That alone is worth the price of admission.

You’ll also like the fact that you can use the synthetic winch rope like rope. You know how the wire rope can scratch up everything it comes in contact with? And you certainly wouldn’t want to wrap it around your arm and toss it on the front of your 4X4. Well, with a synthetic rope, you can actually do that, and it won’t tear things up.

Warn 3/8 in. x 125 ft Galvanized Wire Rope

Wire Rope is heavier, harder to use, and only slightly less expensive than similar synthetic rope. This hunk of wire rope costs $157 (click for details).

The Benefits Don’t End There

You can use the synthetic rope anywhere you’d use the wire rope…and most times with happier results. Say your rope gets crossed up on the drum and angle pulls. No worries. Its flexibility comes into play, and you won’t find any frays…which means you won’t have to worry about cutting your hands like you do with wire rope.

The light weight of the synthetic means much less stress on the winch motor. You’ll be able to use it many more times a trip than with wire rope. You just need to remember to keep the first layer wound on tightly.

Weather resistance is a major advantage to the UHMWPE. They use this material on ocean-going vessels, and they leave it out in all sorts of weather. So, even if you don’t have a garage, and you still want to leave it on the winch, you should be fine.

And Here’s The Kicker For Reducing Wear And Tear

You definitely need to have a roller-fairlead on your winch. Even though the synthetic rope is rated very high against fraying, you can greatly increase its durability with the fairlead. After all winch rope is expensive…no matter what brand. Why not make the extra effort and keep yourself from having to replace your rope even longer? And if you’ve been using a fairlead with your old wire rope, get a new fairlead.

The wire rope you were using most likely left burrs on it, and they’ll be ready to chew up your new rope. The anodized aluminum fairlead is easy to install with just 2 bolts. It’s much more affordable than having to replace your rope every couple of trips.

So go synthetic…get smooth…and get rid of wire cable wear once and for all.

Selected Synthetic Winch Ropes