Winch Cable Keeps Breaking When Plowing

The first thing to bear in mind is that almost all winches made these days come with a steel winch cable straight from the factory. However, most people are unaware that the cable is pretty delicate when used for winching. If you find that your cable keeps breaking when plowing or you want to prevent the cable from binding, then hopefully we can help you. While it is not advisable to swap to a bigger line just because yours keep breaking, we will show you some ways to keep it from breaking and what you need to know.

How Do I Stop My Winch Cable From Breaking?

Since your winch cable keeps breaking when plowing, the best ways to stop it from breaking include:

1. Make use of a snatch block

The snatch block is effective because it is known to double the power of the winch and may nearly double the rigging strength, as it acts in a way like a pulley. More so, it can half the length of the winch line though you can make it all up with the winch extension strap. Note that, this is way more versatile than making use of a fat and short cable.

2. Maintain the winch cable

In maintaining the cable for your winch, you will have to place it wrapped correctly on the drum, as it may tend to bunch. Since the cable may not be tight enough when it comes from the factory, you must spool the cable and get it rewrapped. While spooling it, it should be done with at least fifty to one hundred lbs on the line and ensure it is done neatly to prevent it from bunching up on one side. You can decide to add the cable as it moves and get to generate internal friction between the movement of the wires and strands. The best way to get it lubed is to bend it around a surface such as a snatch block for the oil to penetrate the wires and strands. Then make use of new   lubrication oil, while avoiding sticky lubes such as wheel grease that has a habit of trapping dirt. Note that, it must not be bent in a weird position for a long time as it gets deformed. And, do not loop around any anchor bolt as the hook will damage your cable. Rather, get a tree strap wrapped around the anchor, proceed in connecting a shackle, and hooking the cable to that shackle under tension.

3. Bring out your shovel and begin to Hi-Lift

Though it is easier to winch out than dig out, however, it is good on some days to break out the shovel. Many problems can get resolved when you dig out the front of the tires and take a different line. Or you can jack up the tire and stack some rocks and logs underneath.

4. Ensure you do not jerk the line

Always bear in mind that the winch line is not the same as a recovery strap. Note that, the winch lines are meant to see static loads so if you hook the cable to another car and let that car pull you out, the winch cable will get broken.

5. Switch up to a synthetic winch rope

For those interested in increasing their safety factor, synthetic winch lines are known to have a higher minimum breaking strength under tension than steel cables. While the 5/16 inches steel winching cable will break at 9800 pounds, the TYFYB 5/16 Inches Synthetic Winch Rope will break at 20,000 lbs.

How To Replace Winch Cable with Strap

If your cable keeps breaking when plowing, then you can replace it with a strap. Just ensure that the winch is crafted for the webbing type strap and not cable or rope. This is because the winches that are crafted for use with webbing straps come with a drum of two inches or wider when you get them for install. Plus the drum diameter of fewer than 13/4 inches. The webbing strap winches come with a bolt that can go through the two sides of the spool adjacent to its drum. When you have the winch on a mount, crafted for use with the webbing strap and you have bought the ideal strap for your rig, the job becomes simpler. The steps involved are:

Step One

Take off the old strap by simply unwinding it off your winch drum. You may need to cut the old strap from the bolt in a bid to remove or inspect the anchor bolt.

Step Two

Make use of the wrenches in loosening the locknut that holds the strap anchor bolt in the drum then remove it. You can replace your bolt and nut if you desire.

Step Three

Get the bolt inserted through the spool wall and the loop is sewn into the new strap’s end, then out through the opposite hole on the spool wall. You are to embark on attaching and tightening the locknut enough to securely seat it on the thread of the bolt and not tight up against the spool.

Step Four

Embark on winding the new strap onto your winch drum and ensure it is laid flat without any twists, folds, or creases.

Step Five

Snap the hook of the new strap to the bow eye of your boat and that is all.

Winch Equipment

Some equipment you should know about are:

•The winch rope for ATV snow plowing

A good winch rope for ATV snow plowing is the Warn Industries 68560 synthetic winch rope. It is eight feet long and has a very strong rope. It is used as a replacement rope when your winch cable keeps breaking when plowing. It helps in saving the wire rope from every wear and tear of the plowing season. It is quite flexible and more supple than steel.

•The winch plow strap

When your winch cable keeps breaking when plowing, the ideal winch plow strap to buy is the KFI Products Plow Strap For ATV. It comes with a 3/16 inches synthetic attachment line and it is used with wide or standard winches. It can be used to replace the steel or synthetic line when the plowing season comes and it has multiple spool attachment alternatives. It can help in eliminating damage to the winch as it avoids cable binding and stacking.

•The winch cable stopper

The ideal winch cable Stopper to buy is the KFI ATV-SCHS Cables. It is crafted to be used for the UTV and ATV winch. It will fit between the two rollers outside. More so, it can eliminate wear and tear on the rollers and it heavily protects your winch motor and the fears of pulling your cable too far.


On a general note, we have briefly given you ideas on how to stop the winch cable from breaking and steps to replace the winch cable with straps should it break again.
Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

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