Winch Cable: A Helpful Guide When Shopping
You'll never know when your pickup's winch is going to be called upon to save the day, even if you work in construction or deal with car towing. This is why it's important to have a long-lasting winch cable handy so that you're assured of superior load-bearing performance every time when the call of duty finally comes in. On a single outing, you could use it to tow a broken front-end loader to the mechanic's shop or pull a high-centered skid steer back to solid ground.
Considerations When Shopping for a Winch Cable
- Think Big and Thick Cables: Many winch buyers think too small when they're supposed to think big. The bigger and thicker the winch cable is the better the winch operation will be. A thin winch cable has the tendency to make the winch get black smoke billowing from it when push comes to pull. This is because it lacks the leverage and muscle to get the job done properly. You'll have better pulling power with a bigger winch and cable on hand, to be honest.
- Get Only Quality Cable Materials: Your winch cable should be made of high-quality components because it's usually dragged onto sand and water day in and day out. Your heavy-duty winch should have a heavy-duty cable to go along with it. A topnotch winch cable is made of coiled steel with loads of pull and tensile strength on every spiraling thread of metal wire. This assists your winch handling the stress of the load while keeping your winch's drum/gear components safe from being overloaded.
- Remember that Stability Equals Energy Conservation: Just as winches can be chosen in terms of battery power, a good winch cable can also be bought based on its ability to conserve energy for its winches. Winch cables are supposed to simplify rather than complicate a winching job. Electric winches are only as efficient as the flow of electricity to their motor powering their winch drum. Having a high-tensile-strength cable offer enough stability to pull a load without snapping can keep your winches from bearing the load that the cable is supposed to hold.
- Choose between Ropes versus Cables: The traditional aircraft winch cable does get competition in the form of braided synthetic polypropylene rope (which could also be made of hemp, abaca, linen, cotton, coir, jute, straw, or sisal). Rope is as strong as any cable as evidenced by some companies using them for their winches. Synthetic ropes don't produce snap back whiplash when broken. However, cables require less cleaning and maintenance plus they're much more common in the winching world.
- Consider Pull Maximization through Snatch Blocks: A good bundle of winch cable should be flexible enough to provide maximum pulling power from the winch. However, the innermost cable layer can only get the maximum pulling power; pulling from the remaining layers can reduce your winch pulling power by 20% per layer. Thusly, you should look into investing in snatch blocks that provide a mechanical advantage that makes up for this limitation.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right winch cable for heavy-duty use bolts down to the type of winch application you need it for (from dragging pylons to hauling huge cargo as well as towing a broken-down car), the weight of your pickup truck or jeep, and what sort of winch you have on hand (since any given winch can handle only so many types or sizes of winch cables).