As the days grow shorter and the air gets cooler in much of the United States, many drivers will continue to put off vehicle maintenance.
Winter means different things in different parts of the country. In the extreme Northeast, Midwest and Great Plains, drifting snow can play a much bigger part in safety and service concerns than, say, Texas, California and Florida – but those areas bring their own challenges. And even the Sunshine State is not immune to the occasional freeze and even the rare but possible snow fall.
Regardless of the conditions in your area, the change in seasons gives you the ideal opportunity to talk with your customers about the ever-present need for winter inspections.
Impress upon your customers the importance of paying careful attention to their vehicles’ conditions. First, start with a recommendation to find, open and read their vehicle’s owner’s manual. Then, combine those general service recommendations with your shop’s own maintenance guidelines.
Recent research by the Car Care Council found that everyday auto basics are often ignored.
• 25% of cars had low or dirty engine oil;
• 12% had low or contaminated brake fluid;
• 18% had dirty air filters;
• 17% had inadequate cooling protection or low coolant levels;
• 16% needed new windshield wipers and 27% had low or contaminated washer fluid; and
• 18% needed new belts.
On average, Americans spent nearly $2,000 on vehicle repairs and maintenance in the past five years yet, overall, 89% of vehicles were in need of at least one service or repair. This figure is distressing at any time of year, of course, but in the winter – when driving conditions can deteriorate and become hazardous rapidly – it’s even greater cause for concern.
Allstate Insurance suggested in a recent survey that just the thought of winter driving is “stressful” for more than a third of the American population and “concerning” for nearly half. Simply being assured that their vehicles are in top shape to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at us this winter can help them be more confident on the road and, hopefully, safer drivers. MM