How To Tie Synthetic Winch Rope (Doesn’t Have To Be Hard)

Synthetic rope is by far the most desirable cable option when it comes to easy-winching, compared to steel cable. It’s lightweight, strong, and poses less danger with a snap or burrs.

However, tying the synthetic rope is utterly crucial. The strength of your winch mostly depends on how well the rope is tied to the drum.

So, how to tie synthetic winch rope to the drum?

You’ll make a tie-end loop on the rope, and feed it through the installation groove on the winch drum. Then you can lock it up with a bolt. Or, you can use a plasma lock if the drum is plain and feed the lock underneath the rope for a rigid lock.

Well, we’ll discuss both the methods in detail in a bit. Let’s roll your winch rope into your winch real quick!

Quick Overview

  • You can replace a steel wire with synthetic or install entirely new
  • You’ll have to make a brummel eye splice to hook up the rope
  • Depending on the model, you can install it with or without tools
  • You should use an aluminum fairlead and feed from the bottom

Can You Bind a Synthetic Winch Rope Yourself?

Although most winches come with a winch rope tied in prior to the drum, replacing or upgrading the rope are pretty common.

In these cases, if you want to install or tie the synthetic rope yourself, you can completely do so. In fact, learning the DIY method can help you big time in steep situations.

Now let me tell you this: installing a synthetic cable to a winch is a no-brainer once you understand the steps. All you need to do is, try it once, and put it into a stress-test.

Imagine ending up snapping the rope in the middle of nowhere, and you don’t know how to install a new rope. You can already imagine, things will go sideways.

Well, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, get a good ATV winch with synthetic rope installed to it in prior. If you have to replace the existing one, seek a professional’s help.

How To Tie Synthetic Winch Rope In Different Methods

Tying a synthetic winch rope is an easy job once you understand how the steps go. Depending on which model or which brand of a winch you’re using, the installation method can differ from each other.

How To Tie Synthetic Winch Rope

So, let’s get through a few different methods of how to tie synthetic winch rope. This way, you can decide which one works for you the best.

Tie Your Synthetic Winch Rope Using The Built-In Side Bolt

Most modern winches come with some sort of rope installation method, side bolt mechanisms being a popular one. If your winch drum’s wall comes with a bolt thread, use that for connecting the synthetic wire.

Tie It Using The Built-In Side Bolt

Before you can tie it though, you’ll have to make a locked brummel eye splice using this method:

Note: Remember not to compromise the rope strands while doing this

Once you have the eye done nice and tight, here are the steps to tie it to the drum:

  • Test run your winch to see which way rotation is in and which is out.
  • Feed an abrasion protection sleeve on the rope (which many people ignore).
  • Now, feed the cable through the fairlead and run it in the inward direction.
  • After that, use the eye you made previously to hook it up to the bolt.
  • Tighten the bolt and roll the rope in neatly, and you’re good to go!

Now, this method is not going to apply for all, and it’s not the best method either. Let’s see another method that you can call universal and can be applied to any winch, regardless of the model. And that is:

Use A Synthetic Lock To Tie The Winch Rope

Using a Synthetic rope lock to tie up a synthetic winch rope is the easiest way of installing it. You won’t need any external tool except for the Rope lock itself. If you’re getting the plasma lock though, from Red Winch, you also want to have a zip tie around.

Okay, once you have the lock in your hand, it’s time to tie the rope on the drum. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Feed the rope through the fairlead, long enough to have 5-6 wraps around the drum.
  • Put the rope lock on the drum, keeping it further left where you want your rope to be tied.
  • Feed the rope again, this time through the right eyelet of the rope lock.
  • Now, release the clutch lever and wrap the rope over the lock 5-6 times.
  • Once you’re done wrapping, you should have a few inches left on the end.
  • You can now feed that extra few inches of rope through the other eyelet of the lock.
  • Then snug fit the roll and make sure the rope is nice and tight.
  • After that, pull the main rope tight from the outside as if you’re pulling something with your winch.
  • You should now have a nice and tightly tied rope to your winch.

Need more visual assistance? Watch this video for a complete lesson:

Tie Through the Drum (No lock)

Feeding though the spindle itself and tying the rope to the drum is another great way to tie a rope. This is only applicable if your winch drum has a hole in prior, and you won’t need any external tools for this either.

Tie through the drum

Here is how you can use the spindle hole to tie a synthetic winch rope:

  • Feed the rope through the fairlead and poke through the Allen hole.
  • Get it all the way through and pull out about 5-6 inches more.
  • Now you get the drum a rotation and make a knot with the other side of the rope.
  • This way, you’ll have a nice and flat rope on the drum to spool the rest of the rope on.
  • You can also poke the loose end into the other hole if you want, but that’s not mandatory.
  • Once you have the rope in place tight enough, you can spool the rest of the rope.

Here’s a visual presentation of the process that you can follow in each step:

Tie Through The Drum (With lock)

If you’re using a winch with a built-in lock mechanism with a groove to snap hook the rope. This is common on warn winches, and installing one is way easier than most other methods o tying a rope to the drum.

Tie through the drum With lock

Let’s see how you can attach your winch rope to a drum that offers a spindle hole onto the drum itself:

  • First, go ahead to make a brummel eye splice as described above
  • Feed the rope through the fairlead and through the spindle hole in front
  • Once you have the rope eye out from the lock side, put on the lock itself
  • Pull the rope back while keeping the lock in place by holding with finger
  • Here, you should be able to pull it all the way in with a strong lock in place
  • Now you can spool the rest of the rope onto the drum and get going

Once you complete the process, the lock should be like this:

Tie through the drum (With lock) 2


Equipping an electric winch with a synthetic rope or replacing steel wire with one is the best thing to do. Not only it’s safer, but easier to handle, even without gloves in situations.

Now that you know how to tie synthetic winch rope to the winch drum, go ahead and try one. Choose the method that works for your winch and put the rope on using the steps above.

Don’t forget to wear gloves, especially if you have to remove or handle with steel wire at any step.

Jason Pastor

Jason spent half of his life in ship loading, and after 25 years working in this sector, he took his retirement. Now in his free time, he loves to do research and write about things that he has expertise in. Offroadbuster is the result of that. He created this site to guide people with different types of winch for their profession.

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