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Lifespan of a Recovery Rope

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I'm just curious how long a stored recovery rope will last before it should be replaced. I know using it will reduce its lifespan but lets assume it is stored in the car in a bag to avoid UV
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It depends on the material and stow conditions. I used flat tow straps that were 20+ yrs old. Nylon, I believe. Chain and metal cable obviously the best.
 

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Long time if stored well. Over 10 years I would think if not used if not longer.
 

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In the much more cautious climbing world, any nylon rope older than 10 years should be retired, regardless of how it was used or stored. Will it automatically fail at 10 years? Probably not. Is your life worth more than a $200 replacement? Hopefully…
Some of it is just the consequences of what happens if it fails though. A failed recovery rope might dent your car, and in extreme cases cause bodily harm or death. A failed climbing rope is extremely likely to cause harm or death. When in doubt, replace it.
 

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After being told a synthetic rope would only last a year I did a little research and found that, if cared for and kept out of sunlight, synthetic rope and tow straps (etc.) should last 10 years or more. Average winch rope life was 3-5 years if covered except in use and kept clean.

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After being told a synthetic rope would only last a year I did a little research and found that, if cared for and kept out of sunlight, synthetic rope and tow straps (etc.) should last 10 years or more. Average winch rope life was 3-5 years if covered except in use and kept clean.

IIRC - Don
I think people should keep in mind as well that synthetic winch line is what those in the sailing world call dyneema line. The line often spends a lot of it's life exposed to the elements and sun and can last a long time under extremely high tension forces. Food for thought.
 
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DonH63

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I think people should keep in mind as well that synthetic winch line is what those in the sailing world call dyneema line. The line often spends a lot of it's life exposed to the elements and sun and can last a long time under extremely high tension forces. Food for thought.
Interesting thought. A friend with a small sea cat mentioned that to me but I have no experience in sailing. His comment was that he thought sailing lines used different, or specially-treated, materials that made them last longer. I have in the past purchased lines treated with UV protection but I do not know if that is true of a winching line. And I mean that literally, I do not know. Are they the same? Hard to believe the winch market itself supports the entire industry so it makes sense the lines have other applications.

I was shocked when told to anticipate that my synthetic winch line would need replacing yearly; I had not seen that anywhere. The saleslady who told me that said it was the manufacturer's recommendation, but also said hers lasted 3+ years with normal use (number of pulls through the year), which is likely more use than mine will see. I suspect it is a combination of being overly cautious to prevent lawsuits and desire to generate more sales.
 

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Interesting thought. A friend with a small sea cat mentioned that to me but I have no experience in sailing. His comment was that he thought sailing lines used different, or specially-treated, materials that made them last longer. I have in the past purchased lines treated with UV protection but I do not know if that is true of a winching line. And I mean that literally, I do not know. Are they the same? Hard to believe the winch market itself supports the entire industry so it makes sense the lines have other applications.

I was shocked when told to anticipate that my synthetic winch line would need replacing yearly; I had not seen that anywhere. The saleslady who told me that said it was the manufacturer's recommendation, but also said hers lasted 3+ years with normal use (number of pulls through the year), which is likely more use than mine will see. I suspect it is a combination of being overly cautious to prevent lawsuits and desire to generate more sales.
My understanding is that dyneema sailing line is the same as winch line. do keep in mind that many boats have line bags in the cockpit that the excess line is stored in, that's done to prevent it getting tangled, people tripping on it, but also give it a little protection from the elements, but the line that gets used the most is exposed on deck and in the rigging the whole time. I don't know anyone who sails full time that replaces their sailing line yearly unless they are racing.

I should also add that "number of pulls" in regards to winch line is interesting to consider when sailing lines when in use are under a lot of continuous and varying pressure, along with being pulled in and out constantly and for days/months/years on end.

I'm guessing you are right and that the winch line people are being legally cautious and trying to sell more line.
 

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In the much more cautious climbing world, any nylon rope older than 10 years should be retired, regardless of how it was used or stored. Will it automatically fail at 10 years? Probably not. Is your life worth more than a $200 replacement? Hopefully…
Some of it is just the consequences of what happens if it fails though. A failed recovery rope might dent your car, and in extreme cases cause bodily harm or death. A failed climbing rope is extremely likely to cause harm or death. When in doubt, replace it.

you keep your ropes ten years :D. only kept one for 5 years with one use if used like i used to use my climbing ropes i never kept them longer than 2 years or 3/5 major falls on it. always inspected after every climb. lucky my buddy that i used to climb with years back is a ropes access tech for oil refineries. great person to know forsure.
 

DonH63

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My understanding is that dyneema sailing line is the same as winch line. do keep in mind that many boats have line bags in the cockpit that the excess line is stored in, that's done to prevent it getting tangled, people tripping on it, but also give it a little protection from the elements, but the line that gets used the most is exposed on deck and in the rigging the whole time. I don't know anyone who sails full time that replaces their sailing line yearly unless they are racing.

I should also add that "number of pulls" in regards to winch line is interesting to consider when sailing lines when in use are under a lot of continuous and varying pressure, along with being pulled in and out constantly and for days/months/years on end.

I'm guessing you are right and that the winch line people are being legally cautious and trying to sell more line.
OK, thanks, good to know. I recall going out a few times and we always did a quick line inspection (among other things), but thinking back in 5-10 years I only recall helping restring a line once, and that was because it got caught in a pully and torn/scuffed a little and he replaced it out of caution.

For our winching, I think "number of pulls" is more related to damage in use (rock scrapes etc.) than exposure. At least that's what I was told, and maybe that is the underlying root cause for shorter life. The winch lines do not wear out from exposure or tension, but abrasion, grit/mud/sand increasing wear, and so forth. Even with a line saver it is all too easy to accidentally slide the line over a rock or sharp edge someplace leading to severed strands. Maybe just me.
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