Over 70% of all vehicle owners service their vehicles where they buy their tires. This is a great news for tire dealers, especially since shops across the country are vying for customer retention. But, are you prepared to build on those service opportunities, and, in turn, boost your average repair order (ARO) with required maintenance, once you gain a customer’s business?
One way to capitalize on necessary services is through routine vehicle inspection, and, in particular, a tire inspection. By checking a customer’s alignment and tread depth, dealers can educate customers on their tire health and also offer data-backed repair services to ensure that their car is running as smoothly and safely as possible.
What Do I Check?
Having some type of method to measure tread depth is a great place to start. As many as 25% of tires out on the road today need to be replaced. Measuring tread depth allows you to gauge when customers may need to invest in a new set of tires.
In addition, check the vehicle’s alignment. Any signs of irregular treadwear are indications that the vehicle may need an alignment. Another critical tool in the inspection process is a good handheld pressure gauge to be sure that the tires are inflated to recommended OE pressures.
Abnormal wear patterns such as shoulder or edge wear can indicate an alignment issue, while heavy, even wear along the center rib of the tire can indicate overinflation. Conversely, heavy wear on the sides of the tire indicates underinflation.
Tire cupping, or tire scalloping, occurs when a tire’s tread moves from a high to a low spot, as if someone has scooped out part of the tread. This indicates a balancing or suspension issue, which can lead to additional service opportunities.
Investing in tire inspection software that provides a printout of data you can share with customers can be your best selling tool.
So, how do you begin to review this type of data with the customer? First, go over any good news, or “green” areas. For example, the customer’s front passenger tire shows 8/32nds of consistent tread depth across the tread. Good news—the tire is wearing evenly, and suspension components are in good working order. This “green” data often sets the table for future inspections and replacement items so that customers can continue to track their tire health.
Next, present the more “marginal” results, or “yellow” areas. There are repairs that, while maybe not required immediately, might be convenient to address during the visit to be sure the customer’s vehicle is in tip-top shape. For example, the right rear driver’s-side tire is showing slight shoulder wear. Looks like the customer needs an alignment, as well as an inspection of the ball joints and wheel bearings. These types of results can be a great way to remind a customer that a repair or service is looming and that making an appointment in the near future to address a certain issue would be best.
Remember, every interaction with a customer does not need to be an “upsell” opportunity, in which you’re offering additional services. Tire inspection reports are a good tool for your service writers to build trust and rapport with customers. Reviewing the “green” and “yellow” areas provides a solid foundation that tells customers what your shop will check each time they come in for service.
Finally, share where they’re in the danger zone, or the “red” areas. For example, the front left tire is wearing excessively on the inside edge. This customer needs an alignment due to camber. Inspection results can present data that identifies vehicle safety issues for the shop and customer. In an effort to not compromise vehicle safety, these aspects should be repaired immediately.
Providing an estimate with two or more options to service yellow or red items can help a customer budget and proactively plan three to five months in advance for expensive services. This means that the next time your shop sees this vehicle, the customer has some idea ahead of time of what needs to be repaired, why and what it will cost.
Content provided by Coats Garage. For more information, visit coatsgarage.com.
Check out the rest of the November digital edition of Tire Review here.