Before the advent of great synthetic rope technology like “dyneema-ropes” ,a lot of “winch rope”. were in fact steel cables, which were the best option when the choice was either steel cables or natural fibre ropes. Depending on what you are doing with your 4WD, some people still prefer steel cables, though before you decide what will suit your needs best it’s a good idea to think about the pros and cons. The following are some of the main points to consider when choosing between synthetic ropes and steel cables.
Reasons To Use Synthetic
One of the great reasons to choose synthetic ropes is because they are extremely light and very strong, meaning you will be able to carry more weight on your winch than you would if it were steel cable. Unlike their natural fibre predecessors, synthetic ropes won’t rot and if you have to cut a synthetic rope it is easy to reseal the end by just melting it with a lighter. As far as maintenance goes, synthetic ropes win again as there is virtually no maintenance necessary, and synthetic ropes are easier to untangle than steel cables if you ever end up with your ropes in a twist.
Things To Be Wary Of When Using Synthetic
If you don’t own a good set of gloves, synthetic ropes can rip all of the skin off your hand if you aren’t careful, so you need to be really careful and wearing good gloves when relaying synthetic cable. Burrs also have a tendency to stick to synthetic ropes so again you need to be careful when relaying cable as the spikes from the burrs can sometimes go straight through a glove. Finally, synthetic ropes have no fire resistance to them, so they can and will burn, so be careful if using them in situations where this might become an issue.
Advantages Of Using Steel Cables
Despite the incredible advances in synthetic ropes, there are still some great reasons to use steel cables. For one they are almost half the price of synthetic ropes, so for a cheaper option that can still do the trick, steel cables are a good move. Steel cables are also great as far as abrasion resistance goes and when lowering a vehicle, some say steel cables have better shock resistant qualities.
Disadvantages To Using Steel Cables
Using steel cables can be quite a lot of work, as they need to be lubricated, cleaned and maintained regularly if you hope for them to last a decent length of time. The extra weight of steel cables is also a big factor as they add a lot of weight and bulk to your vehicle.
Both synthetic ropes and steel cables certainly have their time and their place to shine, though when all things are considered, you and your 4WD will likely be better off with synthetic ropes on your winch. Synthetic ropes allow you to keep your vehicle as light and manoeuvrable as possible while still having the ability to do some recovery work, so for your best all round performance, choose synthetic.