Choosing the Correct Size Winch Rope for Your Winch?

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It’s finally time to replace that worn out old steel winch cable? Or maybe your wanting to replace your current winch rope with one of ours? How do you choose the correct size winch rope?  What size diameter and length will fit on my winch? Many people assume that when they are purchasing a new winch rope for their winch,  they can get the largest and longest size they can find.  This is absolutely not true and can cause major damage to your winch.  If you want to know the details of this issue continue to read on, or you can go straight to our Winch Rope Conversion Chart to see what size winch rope is recommended for your particular winch model. If you don’t see your winch model, feel free to contact us!

Why the Correct Diameter Size Winch Rope Matters

Winch rope comes in many different size diameters and lengths to fit many different brands and sizes of winches. Let’s look at why it’s important to determine the correct size winch rope in both diameter and length. I will use a common 9,000lb winch for example. From the manufacturer, let’s say this winch originally comes with 100 feet  of 5/16″ diameter steel cable.  While you can simply use the exact same diameter and length in synthetic winch rope, it is common practice to increase the diameter size of the winch rope to gain an increase in breaking strength and working load capacity.  5/16″ steel cable is rated at 9,800lbs which is just above the maximum pull strength of the winch. 5/16″ synthetic winch rope is around 12,000lbs breaking strength. But, the most common size used on winches ranging from 8k to 12k is 3/8″ diameter for the reasons mentioned above.  Our 3/8″ synthetic winch rope has a breaking strength of 20,000lbs!

Why You Need to Choose the Correct Length Winch Rope

What about the correct size winch rope length? The “Rule of Thumb” we go by is for every size up in diameter over the original size winch cable or rope, you reduce the length by 15 feet. This allows you to run the larger, stronger size diameter rope while still maintaining the pulling power of the winch. Each layer of rope added on the winch drum reduces your winch’s pulling power.  Remember, the first layer of rope on the winch drum is where the winch can achieve its maximum pulling strength. The correct length also keeps from overloading one side of the winch drum during angled pulls. Very rarely do we get lucky enough to have consistent straight pulls. If you overload one side of the winch drum during an angled pull due to too much length of rope, the rope could come in contact with the winch’s tie-bars which can damage your rope and destroy the winch. So what do you do if you need more length from your winch rope? Check out our winch rope extensions!


Choosing the Correct Size Winch Rope for Your Winch?
Article Name
Choosing the Correct Size Winch Rope for Your Winch?
Replacing that worn out old steel winch cable, or replacing your current winch rope with a replacement synthetic winch rope? Learn how to choose the correct size winch rope such as what size diameter and length winch rope will fit on your winch.
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Tactical Recovery Equipment
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