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Winter Vehicle Maintenance

For much of the country, winter brings potentially hazardous road conditions – meaning, your shop should be planning now to help your customers safely weather the season.

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It’s ‘Snow’ Time To Miss Service Opportunities

Winter brings with it the excitement of holidays, the opportunity to engage in invigorating outdoor activities and the chance to wear ugly sweaters that would be shunned any other time of the year. For much of the country, winter also brings potentially hazardous road conditions – meaning, your shop should be planning now to help your customers safely weather the season.

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According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac (the original Weather Channel since 1792) the 2019-2020 U.S. winter will see below normal winter temperatures from the Heartland westward to the Pacific and in the Desert and Pacific Southwest as well as Hawaii (so sorry, Hawaii). For much of the rest of the country, it will be above normal winter temperatures. 

The New England states should be “wet and wild;” Ohio, West Virginia and the I-77 corridor down to Charlotte will be “wintery;” from Michigan to Mississippi, they’re calling for mild weather with soakers. From Florida along the Gulf Coast to Texas, conditions will be nice, while the Rocky Mountains up across the Northern part of the country will see a lot of snow. The Central Plains are looking at lousy weather and the West Coast is likely to share that forecast.

“Don’t like the weather in (Your Location Here)? Just wait 10 minutes.”

Of course, if you base your winter service plans solely on such broad predictions, you’re likely to miss significant opportunities to ensure your customers’ vehicles are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

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There’s an old saying (we claim it for ourselves here on America’s North Coast but I’m pretty sure everyone else does too), “Don’t like the weather in (Your Location Here)? Just wait 10 minutes.” We – and you, I’m sure – are accustomed to experiencing December weeks that start out snowy on Monday, are warm, sunny and dry on Wednesday then locked inside a layer of ice by Thursday. 

That’s why this issue of Brake & Front End includes our special seasonal service supplement called “Maintenance Matters.” In it, we’ll discuss some of the most significant concerns your customers will face this winter, regardless of your location. From TPMS to tread depths, from winter blades to “Wow are those lights bright in this snowstorm,” we’ll share some common points of reference that you can use with your customers to ensure the necessary jobs are completed once the flakes start flying. 

Help keep your customers safe this winter, in whatever road conditions they may find themselves, so they return in the spring.


Doug Kaufman is the editorial director of Brake & Front End, ImportCar and Underhood Service. He has covered various segments of the automotive aftermarket with Babcox Media for nearly 30 years. 

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