How To Spool A Winch Cable Effectively

Last Updated on September 19, 2022 by Automobile Note

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The fun fact of a heavy machine like a winch is that it may be a vulnerable tool. In fact, the winch cable or rope is one of the most crucial components of a winch that remains exposed to the roughness of the terrain and the weather. That requires regular maintenance of the winch line if you want your off-road trip to be a successful and safe one. But inconvenience may still come from the regularly maintained cable if you do not know how to spool a winch cable properly.

Suppose, you clean and wash the winch rope every time you use it and keep the line covered but still it runs the risk of being damaged beyond repair. To keep the winch line full-proof, you must learn how to spool a winch efficiently and re-spool it on the winch drum after the recovery. Amateur spooling or re-spooling can tell upon the lifetime and performance of the winch whether it is a synthetic rope or a steel wire cable.

Improper and inefficient spooling of the winch line not only damages the cable in the long run, rather a mistakenly spooled or wrapped cable on the winch drum will not be that efficient.

When the line is not tightly and evenly wrapped around the drum, you will lose much of the friction on your drum. Thus, wrong and inefficient spooling of the rope may result in the reduced pulling power of the winch by causing your recovery failure or delay. To be on the safe side on an off-road trip, read this winch spool guide to learn how to successfully and properly wind a winch line.

Safety Tips To Spool A Winch Cable Evenly

While spooling winches, you must remember that whatever the type of winch line, it must be wrapped around the drum tightly and evenly. But to do so, you must not undermine your safety. Yes, the safety of you and the people around you comes first of all.

You better wear safety gloves while handling the winch line. When the winch motor is on, you must wear a pair of safety gloves. Winch ropes grow kinks and get frayed faster due to the abrasive nature of the function; that is why the advisable and smart way is to keep your hands gloved.

As for the wire cable, the little kinks and frays can pierce your hand. Conversely, the synthetic ropes do not go that damaging even if affected by the abrasion, but they too can cause harm to your soft hand palms.

That is where, a pair of protective gloves is highly recommended to ensure safety before rescue. Moreover, a running winch may draw your hands in while you are busy with the winch line. In this connection, a tough pair of hand gloves may be the decisive factor between an injured hand and a safe one.

With the safety measure in place, now it’s time to land on the scene of spooling the winch cable. The process of spooling and re-spooling will not vary for the different types of winch lines- rope or cable. The line should bite the winch drum tightly and evenly along the width of the winch drum. 

3 Steps To Spool A Winch Cable Effectively

You have to go through three consecutive steps to effectively spool the winch cable. Here you go with the spooling of the winch line.

Step1: Spool Out the Winch Rope

You should start by releasing the entire winch line and you might be tempted to stop spooling out the rope when it is getting uneven. But you should spool the entire winch rope out for a better result. If you are a veteran off-roader, this should be pretty easier for you. In case you are a novice, just do as said as follows.

You just reach the clutch lever and disengage it. Modern winches do have a little clutch on the drum side for a free spooling operation. When a winch is in a free spooling approach, it will move in the direction you need and want. By producing minimal or zero resistance, the entire rope will spool out from the drum at ease.

Step2: Switch The Winch On

Before you activate the winch, one thing to be careful of is not to pile the released line up in front of the winch. It is always advisable to pull the line away from the winch and in a straight line. Thus you can avoid coiling the winch so that it may not create any inconvenience while spooling.

Now, it’s the turn to activate the winch. After that, plug in the remote controller and never forget to engage the lever of the clutch to keep the winch drum locked and unmoved. Now, you are ready to re-spool or take the cable in.

Step3: Re-spool the Winch Line

Now, it’s time to pull back the entire winch cable. Better to find an assistant as this is the most crucial part and may prove to be tough to control single handedly. To handle both the remote control and the winch line is really tough.

Make sure that you are pulling back the rope slowly so that the cable sits evenly around the drum. To avoid overlapping the rope, use your hands to guide the entire rope but do not forget to wear a pair of hand gloves. Take care that the cable sits evenly and tightly along the winch drum allowing more space and friction on the drum.

To ensure the winch cable wraps tightly and strongly around the drum, guide the winch line so that the cable starts from one end and ends up at the other end. Repeat the same process so long the entire rope is not folded up.


By now, you have learned to spool winch cable evenly. So, if you are still facing challenges to spool and re-spool a cable, here you can have the full picture of how to spool a winch cable. And never forget to take adequate measures as suggested at the beginning of this winch spool guide.

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