An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) often has the task of overcoming extreme obstacles, which means it is likely to become stuck at some point. Luckily, many ATVs feature winch systems that allow a user to haul the vehicle over obstacles easily. The winch is a system that mounts to the front of the ATV, and it usually features a long cable or ATV winch rope that can be secured around a solid object. The motorized winch can then be activated to pull the ATV forward or to haul another object toward the ATV. In lieu of a metal cable, an ATV winch rope may be chosen for several reasons.
The rope itself is likely to be made from a durable synthetic material that is designed to haul significant amounts of weight. Some users prefer the use of an ATV winch rope over the much heavier steel cable common on most winch systems, not only because of the light weight, but also for the strength and safety. When an ATV winch rope snaps because its weight limit has been exceeded, the snap back of the rope is fairly minimal, which means a user is less likely to be injured. Metal cables can snap back significantly, potentially leading to injury.
The ATV winch rope is also likely to float on water, which makes it exceptionally useful for performing water rescues. Steel cables are heavier and tend to sink rather than float, which means securing the vehicle in deep water can be quite difficult. The winch rope also tends to be more flexible than a steel cable, which means it can be wrapped more easily around a wider variety of solid objects.
One common misconception about an ATV winch rope is that it is significantly weaker than a steel cable. This may be true in certain instances, but many synthetic ropes are actually just as strong, if not stronger, than some steel cables. The integrity of a steel cable can be compromised if any of the small strands of wound steel begin to splinter or peel; this can mean a gradual wearing down of the steel cable, not to mention the risk of a total break at any moment. An ATV winch rope can also begin to lose individual strands, leading to a compromise of the rope's strength, but the rope is likely to fail all at once, and the snap back when such an event occurs will be less significant than that of a steel cable. Frayed cables can also cut the skin, whereas frayed ropes are generally less dangerous.