wrangler jk bumper

Selection between the steel cable and synthetic rope as your preferred winching material can be a dilemma. Both of these have their own share of pros and cons and have often been the point of debate. While some enthusiasts see steel cable more reliable, other find the durability of synthetic rope more viable. This divide amongst the enthusiast makes it difficult for individuals who are not in the know to make their choice between the steel cable and synthetic rope. However, before we dive into the world of steel cable and synthetic rope, let us talk about, what a winch bumper actually does.

What is a Winch?

Winch bumper is an essential part of your vehicle's accessories for anyone who off-roads and might need to consider before they head out on the trials. Winches are regarded as the rescue gear, which has been aimed to get your vehicle out, if and when the unexpected happens. Winches are available at the front bumpers to pull the vehicle out of tough situations. The winch attached to the bumper are electrically powered by a car battery. It works by winding a steel cable or synthetic rope around the spool to pull anything which is tethered to the cable.

Why is a Winch Important?

Going on trails can be fun and exciting and at the same time, it can be dangerous with an enormous probability of unpredictability. There is no guarantee when you are passing through rocky hills and muddy trials that you won't get in some sort of trouble. The most common usage of winches is to pull your stuck vehicle out of the mud. Though it has much more to offer. It is an absolute necessity for anyone who desires of, off-road traveling, because of the utility and strength that it has to offer.

With the advent and improvement of technology, winches in the recent past have become lighter, stronger and faster. Steel winch cable has been there since the inception of winching technology. However, over the last decade, synthetic winch rope have gained unprecedented growth and popularity. Synthetic rope also remains to be the most debated accessory for the vehicle. Each of these two options has their own advantages and disadvantages, which you must know before making your preferred choice.

Following are the various points based on which the two options are compared.

wrangler jk bumper

1. Strength

Both steel cable and synthetic rope, behold the same strength. There are a few synthetic ropes which have more strength to offer as compared to steel cables. However, the issue with synthetic rope is not related to its strength offering. The issue is with synthetic rope is that it breaks down with regular sliding and rubbing against the harsh terrains. This when compared with steel cables, they can handle the rough surface contact far better.

2. Weight

Synthetic rope saves a lot of weight while providing the same amount of strength when compared to steel cables. Synthetic ropes usually save you 12 – 15 kg of weight on the front suspension as well as on yourself, when you are using the winch. This can be a big save on weight. The lightweight allows you to easily spool and haul the rope to your anchor point. Thus, if you are looking for lightweight winch material, synthetic rope completely outclass steel cable. Regardless of what you select, always make use of gloves for its handling.

3. Safety

Safety is of paramount importance when it comes to selecting the winch for your off-road trials. Whenever a synthetic rope or steel cable breaks down, we all know it can happen with a blink of an eye. And in extreme cases, it can even kill you. Synthetic rope is more prone to breakdown as compared to a steel cable if the weight is not evenly distributed along the rope. However, it does not mean that steel cable doesn't break down. Steel cable too can snap and when they do, pray that you are not in their way. It can be deadly.

4. Cost

Steel cables are more cost friendly and cheaper as compared to synthetic ropes. Thus if you have a price constraint and are limited by it, then going with steel cable is the best choice for you. However, if you can make that extra investment, synthetic ropes stands apart in many areas as opposed to steel cables. Also, synthetic rope requires a lot of maintenance and frequent replacement due to sun damage. This again will increase the amount of money you are supposed to spend on winching.

5. Ease of Maintenance and Repair

Both of these options are easy to maintain and repair on the go. However, you need to have access to the right tools and knowledge in order to be able to repair the cable and or rope when they snap on the trails. Synthetic ropes are much easier to repair as compared to steel cables. This is again one of the areas where synthetic winch ropes outperform steel winch cables. In addition to this, synthetic rope is also much easier to handle because of their lightweight. The more flexible and malleable as compared to steel cables. Steel, on the other hand, can be a lot tougher on your hand. We also have our guide to repair dent on bumpers if you are beset by the problem.

6. Weather Resistance

This is one of the biggest disadvantages when it comes to synthetic ropes. Sunlight and heat can break down the fibers of synthetic ropes, which fades the rope and makes it more brittle. With the rope exposed to frequent mud travels and sand, can also cause damage to it. Rope can also collect a lot of cold water during winter. This means that synthetic rope is prone to damage in any weather. On the other hand, steel can be corroded by rust and becomes more to break down. All in all, it is important to take care of these materials or you might lose on their integrity which can be harmful to your safety.

7. Durability

Steel cable is known to have a longer lifespan as compared to synthetic rope. Synthetic winch rope needs to be replaced every 3 – 4 years which can be quite heavy on your wallet. Frequent replacement of expensive accessory can be tasking requirement. Steel is less prone to corrosion and abrasion which makes it more durable than synthetic ropes.

Which is better for you?

To put it in the right perspective, there is no right and wrong answer here. It all comes down to your own personal preferences. If you think you can take care of the synthetic rope after each of your fascinating trails experience, wash it thoroughly and preserve it from the daunting sun rays, synthetic ropes will fit right in your ally. Whereas if you think, you can handle the heavy weight and corrosion that steel brings in, it will also work great for your off-road trips. Your selection of winch completely depends upon the dedication you are ready to put in for its maintenance. Though, with all the good things that synthetic rope brings in, like lightweight, safety and strength, it does have an upper hand over steel cables.

After choosing the right winch cable, you should opt for appropriate bumper for your vehicle. If you happen to own a Wrangler JK, then Oedro bumper is a good option. It contains a winch plate that comes with a rust proof layer between the water paint and steel. This removes the problem of rusting. It comes with one winch plate & two 4.75 ton D-Ring. The Oedro built-in winch plate can accommodate >12,000lbs winch. The solid D-ring mounts are welded on both the inside and outside. Also, the bumper comes within a 7 layer corrugated cardboard, making it extremely safe during logistic.

wrangler jk bumper


Synthetic Rope has emerged as the winner in the preferred winching material for all the obvious reasons discussed above. The lighter, faster and stronger as compared to a steel cable, which proves their popularity among enthusiast. Though, steel cable works equally fine as well. Like previously said, they both have their own share of pros and cons. At the end, till the time they remain in a good condition, either of the rope or cable will work exactly fine and will be able to do the job to rescue the rig. Whichever winching material you select, you must pay attention and follow safe practices and techniques for winching. It can be a huge difference between good and bad off-road experience. Read our guide to the successful off-road tips.

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