With an aging fleet out there nowadays, an annual analysis of vehicle inspection forms by the Car Care Council showed three of every four units on the road today need some kind of service. So how can dealers leverage this potential to keep service bays busy and cash registers ringing?
One way is through social media. Joey Little, social media manager at VinSolutions, recommended that dealers can become “industry leaders” in their communities.
By giving out service tips about tires and other maintenance advice through a dealership’s social media outlets — Twitter, Facebook or a blog on the store’s website — Little said the efforts not only could boost a dealer’s online reputation but also service revenue when those online consumers bring their vehicles to the service lane.
“A lot of those tips that are auto related make you an industry leader,” Little said. “Then you’re the one they turn to when they need that oil change, tire rotation or anything else in service.”
And the Car Care Council’s analysis shows consumers need these items done to their vehicles in great numbers.
Based on the review of vehicle inspection forms from April and October of last year — known to the organization as Car Care Months — 77 percent of vehicles need service or parts.
Officials found the top three problem areas posting the highest failure rates to be engine oil (22 percent), engine cooling systems (20 percent) and brake service (18 percent).
The council indicated 8 percent of the vehicles inspected had the “check engine” light on and new air filters were needed in 19 percent of the vehicles.
Officials went on to mention at least one belt was reported as unsatisfactory in 14 percent of the vehicles inspected, and 10 percent required at least one new hose.
Battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 11 percent of the vehicles inspected, while 10 percent of the batteries were not properly held down, according to the form analysis.
When checking lubricants and fluids, the council determined the three top failure rates were: low or dirty motor oil at 22 percent; low, leaky or dirty coolant at 20 percent; and inadequate brake fluid levels at 18 percent.
Power steering, coolant and transmission fluids were also checked and had failure rates of 14 percent and below.
Approximately 14 percent of vehicles had front windshield wiper failures, and 1 percent needed service to rear wipers.
At least 13 percent of vehicles needed lights replaced, including headlights, brake lights and license plate lights.
Improperly inflated tires were found on 9 percent of the cars and 10 percent had worn tread and were in need of replacement.
Tire pressure failure rate has steadily declined after recording the highest rate of 54 percent in 2003, according to Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council.
“Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value,” White said. “Following a routine maintenance program like the Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and e-mail reminder service can help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions.”