Synthetic winch line in our opinion is one of the best things to ever happen to recovery equipment. It is lightweight, can be fixed in the field if broken, stronger than steel and best of all it won’t decapitate you if your anchor fails. But just like all good things it needs to be maintained too.
We like the SK-75 Dyneema based winch line from Viking Off road. Made by a company with a long history of rope manufacture and a solid reputation we trust their products. They recommend regular inspection and washing of the line.
After a few seasons of trips, recovery classes and some construction work, maintenance was long overdue on the winch line of the AT JK. I started by peeling the line off only to discover that I had such a significant pinch on the line during the last recovery I made that it had spooled in the opposite direction halfway through the drum! I’ve never seen this happen before and was pleased to see that it had not damaged the line in any way. I checked the line for any serious abrasion and then immersed it in a 5 gallon bucket of water with a few drops of dish detergent. I was amazed at just how dirty the water was after an hour of soaking.
After a fresh water rinse and filling the bucket once again I carefully I went through the line, inch by inch of the 125 foot length, squeezing the line to open up its braiding while submerged in the fresh water. Found in the bottom of my bucket was a miniature alluvial fan of sand and dirt from many an outing.
Hanging the line over night between my bumper and a convenient ladder was sufficient enough for it dry and be ready for re-spooling the following morning. The total process took about 2 hours, redeeming myself for a couple of years of neglect and readying the Jeep for the next adventure!