How to Replace the Winch Rope on Your ATV Winch

Like other ATV gear, the winches suffer damage too, and the cable usually falls victim to this. The winch rope wears with time, requiring replacing the rope.

While this might sound like an easy task, it can be a daunting job. And getting it wrong with winch rope replacement can damage your gear.

However, with the right guide on how to replace a winch rope, you can complete the task with no mistakes. This piece walks you through ATV winch rope replacement:

winching atv stuck in mud


Whether replacing a synthetic rope or a steel cable, you will need some tools to get the job done. Tools to make your job easier and faster include pliers, sockets, Allen key, and electric tape. You also need gloves to protect your hands during the process.

How to Replace the Winch Rope on Your ATV Winch

Uninstall the ATV Winch

Although this is optional, it might be helpful depending on your winch installation. You may skip this step if you can reach the drum with both hands without removing the winch. However, if you can’t access the drum with your hands, you have no option but to remove the winch from your ATV. Removing the winch from your vehicle will give you enough space to work on the winch.

Remove the winch from your ATV by unscrewing the four mounting bolts from the winch. With this, you can remove your winch and place it on a workbench.

Remove the Old Winch Cable

Remove the old cable by setting the winch to a free spool, then pull the rope or cable out. Remember to note how the cable is secured to the drum so you can replicate it when the new rope finally comes in. Taking a picture will help you here.

While steel cables are fastened to the drum with screws, synthetic cables are secured with knots. Regardless, it is important to have your gloves on.

Remove the Rope from the Drum

After pulling the line out of the rope, it is time to pull it completely out of the drum by removing the inner end of the rope. Do this by undoing the knot, so the whole length can run through the hole. If you have difficulties untying the cable, especially when it is glued or taped, you may need to cut the end.

If it is a steel cable, you will need an Allen key to loosen the screws and free the fixed end.

Install the New ATV Winch Cable or Rope

Installing your new winch rope on your ATV is not as simple as removing the old one. This is the part of the process where you are likely to make mistakes. Hence, be more careful here.

Feed the Non-Looped End through the Drum

Secure the end to the drum the same way you met the old one. For synthetic cable, loop the line around the drum and make a knot. For steel cable, securing an end means tightening the screws as you meet the old line. This is where you need the pictures you have taken in the step above.

Install the Winch

If you removed your winch from your ATV, it is time to return it to your vehicle. You have completed the necessary work on the winch and will complete the job with your winch on the ATV.

Wind the Rope to the Drum

Once your winch is back onto your ATV, spool the line. Here, you need a heavy load to help tension the line as you reel it back in around the rope. You can do this by tying the line to a tree and slowly winching it in. Ensure you guide the cable in to achieve neat rows void of crossover.

It is important to give your tope enough tension to achieve tightly packed rows. However, be careful not to put your fingers in the loop when guiding the last few feet in. Getting distracted as you approach the end of the cable can crush your fingers. Be watchful!

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