When Gas Pump Prices Rise...Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive

When Gas Pump Prices Rise…Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive

When summer arrives, your customers are going to feel the heat. And, it's not going to be so much from the temperature as it is from gas prices, which are projected to hit the $3 per gallon mark within a couple of months.

The fact is, while some drivers will merely complain to you about how filling their tank is putting a strain on their wallet, others will actively make changes to their driving habits and car care regimen to boost fuel economy.

In a recent aftermarketNews.com survey, readers were asked if they planned to take action to control their own fuel costs as a result of the expected $3 per gallon prices. Here’s what they said:

• Yes, I will drive less — 34.69%

• No, I won’t make any changes to my driving and vehicle maintenance habits as a result of high gas prices —33.67%

•Yes, I will perform maintenance/repairs to make my current vehicle more fuel-efficient — 27.55%

• Yes, I plan to buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle in the next six months — 4.08%

With such a significant number of people interested in fuel efficiency gains accomplished through vehicle maintenance, it’s important to take the time to educate your customers how performing routine repairs can help them lengthen the intervals between each fill-up at the pump.

Following are some gas-saving service examples, courtesy of Larry Carley, Babcox technical editor, that will have a positive effect on the fuel efficiency of your customers’ vehicles:

1. The biggest impact on fuel economy is checking tire inflation pressure. Vehicles roll in and out of repair shops every day, but seldom does anyone check the tires. Offer it as a customer service. It’s also a good way to spot alignment problems that can prematurely wear out the tires.

2. Recommend upgrading to a low-viscosity** 5W-20 or 5W-30 synthetic oil if a customer is using a conventional oil or an oil with a heavier viscosity. Thinner oils save gas, and synthetic oils last longer than conventional oils.

3. Replacing high-mileage spark plugs (even if they haven’t yet passed 100K miles yet) and replacing high-mileage oxygen sensors can both help ensure maximum fuel economy. An engine that is misfiring because of worn or fouled spark plugs, or that is running rich because of a lazy O2 sensor, wastes fuel.

Your customers need your help in maintaining their vehicles for peak performance and the resulting im-proved gas mileage. Take the time to educate them how these relatively inexpensive measures can pay big dividends. And, then they’ll have more incentive to bring their vehicles to you on a regular basis, which should be music to everyone’s ears.

** Note: check the owner’s manual to confirm whether lower viscosity oils can, in fact, be used in a particular engine (vehicle).

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