Regularity visual inspections are performed on steel wire ropes of suspension bridges. However, because the steel wire ropes were coated with plastic materials, inspectors could not visually detect the deterioration conditions of the ropes. In this paper, radiation tests and electromagnetic testing were compared. The gamma rays used in the radiation tests were employed to develop two assessment techniques, namely the exposure time formula and sensitivity assessment of steel wire ropes. Actual tests showed that such techniques can be adopted to evaluate the defects of steel wire ropes and help engineers improve the safety of suspension bridges.