For years, responsible automobile owners had a maintenance routine that mostly revolved around the expectations of extreme weather. In the late fall or early winter, they’d take their vehicles in for a winter auto checkup. This would include making sure their battery was in good working order, as well as ensuring that their antifreeze and coolant were at ideal levels. No one wants to get stranded in the snow because of poor maintenance, and these checks provided peace of mind.
Similarly, spring/summertime tuneups got people’s vehicles ready for hot weather and vacation road trips. Before the summer season, auto owners would flock in to get their air conditioning systems checked, ensure the freon levels were sufficient, make sure their belts were in good shape and that their tires were properly inflated. Those who didn’t take their cars in for servicing could be seen in their driveways, tooling around under their hoods, tweaking this and that. The ASE even has a springtime checklist of tips for auto owners doing checkups.
Cars today are different, which means that car maintenance today is different.
Modern Cars, Modern Maintenance
In the past, many car owners opted to do certain maintenance or repair items at home. The increasing complexity of today’s vehicles, with advanced computer systems and notifications that must be turned off by technicians mean that a growing number of customers rely on professional service technicians to take care of their maintenance.
In addition to this, many dealerships provide complimentary maintenance on a manufacturer recommended schedule that have customers coming in after driving a particular number of miles, rather than two specific times of the year.
Technology and complimentary dealer maintenance schedules aren’t the only things that have changed, however. Preventative auto care has become less standard and more tailored to each individual car, owner, and driving style.
Preventative Maintenance Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
Car owners today don’t visit the dealership to get their oil changed every 3,000 to 4,000 miles the way they used to. Modern vehicles and synthetic oil mean that dealerships will typically see clients for an oil change every 7,500 miles. For an average driver, this amounts to two oil change visits a year.
During those visits, it’s important to take care of all maintenance items that need to be addressed (such as tire rotation and cabin air filter changes). However, because the service department will see clients on such an infrequent basis, it’s imperative that they conduct a proper multi-point inspection to diagnose any other problems that may be going on.
This may mean taking note of belts that are beginning to crack or tires that are showing signs of wear. If a customer uses a dealership for their regular maintenance, they’re more likely to use them for repairs, as well. This means if a problem doesn’t get fixed in the shop that day, the service department needs to get the customer scheduled to have the problem addressed before it results in a breakdown.
These multi-point inspections are important because customers generally aren’t going to respond to one-size-fits-all appeals like “Bring your vehicle in and get the belts changed!” What if their vehicle doesn’t need it? How would they know if it does? Multi-point inspections are great at presenting an individualized view of what’s going on and what needs to be addressed for each vehicle.
So ditch the old-fashioned tradition of the summer/winter tuneup. This doesn’t mean that car maintenance gets left to the wayside; it simply means that maintenance and service get done when a vehicle really needs it. Another benefit to this approach is that it keeps a continuous flow of customers coming through your dealership’s doors all year long.
Schedule a meeting with a Customer Retention pro to discuss a personalized maintenance-included strategy to drive consistent service traffic to your dealership or automotive service center.