“Hey, ya forgot your ring and pinion upgrade!”

Aftermarket consumers are eager to upgrade their engines, suspension components, and wheels and tires. But, in the process, the ring and pinion is often left neglected. Leaving this part of the drivetrain untouched can be detrimental to a vehicle’s performance and result in customer dissatisfaction with the product they purchased. The ring and pinion is a more involved upgrade. So, it’s important for shop owners to educate consumers. But here lies the problem: many shops choose to bypass this upsell themselves and without the service, customers miss out on a smoother ride experience.

Shops Are Missing Out

Lifting trucks and Jeeps is a major trend right now—maybe even the largest, right? Left and right, shop owners have customers coming in who are interested in raising their vehicles and adding bigger wheel and tire packages. This kind of sale is already pretty big, and it’s easy to get caught up in the customers’ demands alone. However, the add-on sale of an upgraded ring and pinion is a low hanging fruit in this scenario. Not to mention, it’s really beneficial to the customer.

This sale takes a bit of homework and a good understanding of the rear differential. Remember, it’s not just crucial to make the sale, but also to satisfy the customer. Once the vehicle is lifted, throttle response and economy are going to suffer. Adding the lower gear will fix this problem. That being said, differential ring and pinion sale opportunities aren’t only found in the truck and off-road department. Anyone looking for better response and low-end power should be pitched on brands like G2 Axle, Motive Gear, Richmond Gear, and Yukon Gear and Axle.

Expert Advice

Dan Guyer, an outside sales associate at Keystone, is well rounded in truck, off-road, and classic performance. He’s had plenty of exposure to the importance of ring and pinion upgrades and shared a few tips with us. “First and foremost, it’s regained power,” said Guyer. “You’ve lifted a truck, made it less aerodynamic, and added a whole lot of weight. You’re going to need extra oomph,” he continued.

These obstacles will require more power to overcome, and a lower ring and pinion gear can be the saving grace when trying to conquer them. In the earlier example of a customer spending a good deal of money on an aftermarket lift kit, wheel, and tire package, the ring and pinion pitch is a natural discussion point. Yeah, the customer may say no. But Guyer suggests that shops give the customer a call back a few months down the road to see if they’ve come face-to-face with the compromised performance…now ready and willing to come back in for a checkup.

4 Wheel Drive Performance

One shop doing an excellent job at snatching up the ring and pinion sale is “Scuba” Steve at 4 Wheel Drive Performance in Manchester, CT. Over the past 16 years, he’s been successful in pushing this add-on to customers with lifted vehicles. He believes it’s something that needs to be addressed whenever someone upgrades with a bigger lift kit and tires, or customers can expect to hinder their vehicle’s overall power. His point of view: “The idea is to get the final drive’s performance as close to stock as possible, if not better.”

For those hell bent on DIY’ing the garage project, Guyer says, “Be sure you have all the tools, take your time, and be patient.” It never hurts to seek the help of a professional. 

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