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Editor's Notebook

Idled Driving Shouldn’t Mean Stalled Vehicle Service

Spring is in the air, and so are automotive maintenance opportunities. 

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There is plenty of unperformed maintenance out there for the taking – the result of undetected or neglected automotive care, which is oftentimes linked to cost as well as to consumers’ lack of awareness and knowledge about the interconnectivity of vehicle systems. Nor do they heed the importance of regular vehicle and tire inspections and preventive maintenance as a means to ensure vehicle safety, performance and longevity.

So, don’t let your customers leverage their reduced vehicle usage during the pandemic as an excuse to overlook maintenance this spring. Understandably, our industry clocked shrinking vehicle miles traveled over the past 12 months (down 11.3% in January 2021 compared to January 2020, according to the Auto Care Association). But, just because vehicles weren’t rolling down the road in typical numbers, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t in need of maintenance. 

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What your customers probably don’t know is there are many negative implications of vehicle non-use, including component wear and system failures, like rusted brake components and brittle wiper blades, deteriorated chassis bushings, batteries that fall victim to parasitic draw, and tire rotting and flat spots, to name a few.

If you need more evidence to back your maintenance recommendations, consider these statistics:

  • Vehicle neglect among Americans now driving at least a few times per week is on the rise, according to the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index data*. The study showed that 70% of Americans hadn’t checked their tire pressure 30 days prior to taking the survey, despite the industry recommendation to do so at least once a month; 73% hadn’t topped up their vehicle fluids; and 22% hadn’t done any maintenance at all. [*The Hankook Tire Gauge study was conducted Feb. 22-24, 2021, polling 2,732 randomly selected Americans age 18+ who have a valid U.S. driver’s license.]
  • The average age of the 290 million vehicles on the road will continue to rise from the current 11.9 years as consumers hold on to their aging vehicles during economic uncertainty, according to the Auto Care Association. And, an increased number of older vehicles that need TLC equals multiplying service opportunities.
  • Operating costs for maintenance, repairs and tires represent 1/6th of the overall vehicle ownership cost — which also includes depreciation, fuel, insurance, license/registration/taxes and financing, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). To help your customers maintain one of their most expensive possessions, identify necessary maintenance and tires that are in need of replacement to safeguard their investment.

When you take the time to educate customers on the importance of regular and preventive maintenance, you build ongoing customer appreciation, confidence and trust in the inherent value and consistent repair quality offered by your dealership—over-delivering on expectations with every expertly serviced vehicle under your care.

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Enter Today: Are You the Next Top Shop?Now in its 15th year, Tire Review is once again searching for the “best of the best” independent tire dealers in North America for our 2021 Top Shop competition, presented by Coats. Dealers can nominate their own businesses or others can nominate tire dealer businesses. The contest closes April 30, 2021. Go to tirereview.com/topshop to enter today! 

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