July '20

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22 THE SHOP JULY 2020 Based on the actual intended use, there are certain options available," he explains. Finding the right fit means under- standing your customer's complete plans, notes Smittybilt's Patel. "Something we've learned from the team over at 4WP is what they always ask their customers first: 'What do you want to do?' or 'Where do you want to go?' After that, you can select the correct winch and then talk about the proper accessories," he notes. "If they're going mudding, do they have the right tires? Or crawling, do they have the right gear ratios or sliders to get up and over the rocks? The correct winch must accompany the correct vehicle setup." Matching specs is very important, says Lilienthal of Warn. "I'm not sure I have seen a whole lot of mistakes by retailers," he says. "I have recently seen a couple of retailers spec 8,000-pound winches for full-size trucks, and I'd say that's too small." Warn suggests taking the vehicle's GVWR and multiplying it by 1.5 to get the min- imum pulling capacity—a formula Don- nelly from TrailFX also supports. "One common challenge shop associ- ates who may not be experienced in selling recovery products face is helping customers determine the correct size winch needed for the vehicle on which it will be installed," she says. "A good general rule of thumb is to take the gross vehicle weight and mul- tiply that number by 1.5. This will give the customer an idea of the minimum rating needed for their vehicle and help them narrow their product choices." Mile Marker's Whitty calls it undersizing. "Less is more does not apply when winching," he explains. "While you want the correct winch capacity for your specific needs, it is better to have more power and not need it than the other way around. The last thing you want is to be stuck out on a trail with a load that is heavier than your winch can pull." CORONAVIRUS UPDATE The short- and long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic will continue to play out over this summer's off-roading season and beyond. Several sources were willing to gaze into their crystal balls to predict the winch market's future. "I'd say COVID-19 will likely affect the winch market the same way it will affect many other facets of the off-road after- market," Lilienthal says. "If discretionary spending is stymied, buyers may opt for lower-cost winches versus going with a higher-end product. Of course, spending in general may be affected and buyers may simply choose not to purchase until their financial situations improve." Stein also foresees sales mirroring the general economy. "Right now, no one really knows the long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Strong Connection Take the time to understand each customer's individual needs and then match them to the proper winch accordingly. (Photos courtesy Rugged Ridge) Today's winches often include a long list of additional convenience features, from lighting to gauges and more. (Photos courtesy TrailFX)

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