Oil Changes and Window Sticker Marketing

For most Americans, their car is their life line. It gets them to and from their jobs, to stores, to visit friends and family, and elsewhere. Most cannot imagine life without a dependable vehicle which is why so many are careful to make sure their vehicle is performing at an optimal level. However, as people have become wearier of working on their own vehicles and have trusted their car’s maintenance to the repair professionals, a growing number of individuals have grown unfamiliar with what their car really needs and how often it needs it. In many instances, a driver will take their car in for regular automotive maintenance before it is needed, will have unnecessary repairs, and will have the oil changed even when the existing oil is still in good condition and at acceptable levels.One would think that with the downturn in the economy in the past couple years, people would begin to pay more attention to what their vehicle needs and attempt to perform much of the maintenance themselves in order to save money, but quite the opposite has been occurring. As people are drawn in by flashy marketing to quick-lube shops with rock-bottom prices, while they’re waiting for their oil to be changed, they’re told horror story after horror story about the possible consequences of not updating to a premium-style oil, by not having the shop’s recommend fluid-flush, or by not picking up additional items such as oil additives or premium replacement wiper blades. As they begin to see themselves with a vehicle that is completely broken down because they didn’t go with that extra $50-$100 service, they often let these shops perform these largely unnecessary services on their vehicles. The irony of all of this is that in many instances, the people recommending these additional services are not experienced mechanics, but rather inexperienced lube technicians who have, at times, been trained more on how to sell additional services than on how to service a vehicle.It is this illusion of expertise that leads to one of the most successful marketing tools for quick lube and mechanic’s shops alike; the sticker. In most instances, the shop that changes the oil in a vehicle will place a sticker on the inside of the windshield with the company name, logo, and a suggested mileage at which to bring the vehicle back in for service. In most instances, there will be a suggested date along with a suggested mileage that is very often around 3,000 miles from where the car’s mileage currently sits. While many consider this a very considerate service and constant reminder of when they need to bring their vehicle in for service and where they can do so (shops simplify the customer experience by keeping the customer’s information on file), the suggested miles before another oil change is recommended is typically a convenient guess and not what exactly what the vehicle manufacturer recommends.In order to make the most of your oil change, always be sure to check the owner’s manual from the manufacturer of your vehicle for the specifications involved with your automobile’s maintenance. If you do not currently possess the manufacturer’s owner’s manual, obtaining one is a more than worthwhile investment. In the manual, you should find suggested tire pressures, fluid specifications, types of oils, and also how often the manufacturer recommends having the oil changed. Many are surprised to find that though the sticker on the window says to have the oil changed every 3,000 miles, their manual may say otherwise. At times, the manual may read that an oil change is recommended every 5,000 miles to extend to every 7,000 miles to as much as 10,000 miles. In this still-struggling economy with many people wanting to find new ways to save money, many may be shocked to discover that there is money to be saved in simply taking a larger role in learning how their automobile performs instead of what they have been told by the same people who are selling them the products and services.

3 Essential Automotive Fluids Your Vehicle Cannot Go Without

All vehicles require regular scheduled maintenance, service, and tune ups in order to perform at their best ability. Long-term vehicle care is impossible without various routine maintenances. One of the most important factory scheduled maintenance requirements to stick by is automotive fluid re-fills.There are several fluids a vehicle requires in order for it to operate safely and efficiently. These liquids include everything from battery fluid and transmission fluid, to windshield wiper fluid, power steering fluid, and more. Although there are various fluids that a vehicle absolutely needs in order to operate effectually, there are a few liquids in particular that are vital to a person’s safety and a car’s performance.Continue reading to learn about the three most essential automotive fluids that no vehicle should ever be without, on the road.Brake FluidBrakes are one of the most important components within a vehicle. Without properly functioning brakes, a vehicle is basically not drivable. A car or truck must be able to come to a stop for a driver and passenger, as well as other drivers on the road, to be safe. One product that makes our braking systems operate effectively is brake fluid. Brake fluid typically needs replaced every few months or so; depending on the amount of driving a person does.When pressure is applied to the brake pedal, the brake fluid is compressed, transferring hydraulic force to the brake pads and shoes, allowing the vehicle to stop. Without proper amounts of brake fluid, a vehicle’s brake pads and shoes will have difficulty producing enough friction to complete a stop. A mechanic is the person capable of checking your brake line system and re-filling the brake fluid. Although it can also be a DIY job, it is not recommended unless you have experience working with cars and trucks.Motor OilMotor oil is one the most important fluids in a vehicle. It is engineered to cycle through a vehicle’s engine crankcase in order to lubricate the pistons, valves, and other inner engine components. If a vehicle has an internal combustion engine, it will certainly require motor oil. If a vehicle does not have a sufficient amount of motor oil, the engine will seize up and fail in a short amount of time. Be sure to have a licensed mechanic check your motor oil levels to be sure you are driving with a properly lubricated engine.CoolantCoolant is a heat-transfer liquid. The most common coolants on the market are a 50/50 combination of radiator coolant and water. Coolant is intended to keep a vehicle’s engine from overheating. When you see a person on the side of the road, with the hood of their car smoking, this is an indication that their engine has overheated. It works by cycling through an engine, collecting heat as it goes, and returning back to the radiator so the heat can be released out of the vehicle and into the air. Coolant levels are easy to check on your own. Consult a licensed mechanic for instructions and advice on checking your oil stick and coolant levels in your vehicle.

Listen Up OEMs – The Problem With Automotive Internet Leads

I’m an industry veteran. 21 years at the manufacturer level and 5 at the retail level.I’ve seen many many changes in those years. Not only in the vehicles themselves but also on the change in the customers. From what they buy to how they shop.Id like to talk a bit about how people shop now. We all know its on-line. Either directly or indirectly, the internet is funneling people to dealerships doors and inboxes. Dealers often say to me they have just as much floor traffic as they had pre-internet, which is true. But the internet is responsible for more of that traffic than ever before. Traditional marketing, while still a necessary evil (for now), is providing less and less of a return everyday. Ask your radio advertising sales person how many people heard the commercial. Its all fluff and estimates. Same for TV and even print. I mean, who cares how many papers they print or their subscription numbers. They don’t tell the whole story and don’t even begin to let you know the most important thing on your mind – how many people saw your ad.Ahh, the internet. So many opportunities but very few dealers really understand it as a marketing outlet. But I am getting off topic….Normally, when a person visits a dealership today, they are pretty far along in the buying / shopping / thinking process – at least in their own mind. Every ounce of sales training coming from the automakers for YEARS has been about how to close that customer. Its been beat into the salespeople. What the internet has done has allowed for dealers to speak with the same consumer much earlier in the sales cycle. When dealers use the training they have been given, which is “right now” based, they tend to push these internet customers away. These consumers aren’t at that point yet. What they want is information and they are looking to cross you off their list of dealers they will buy from.If OEMs focused more on providing quality relationship building training for these salespeople and pushing the leads to the dealers, and LESS on approving website / CRM vendors, they would be much better off. The current focus of the automakers of vendor approval and dealer websites / CRMs is wasted if the sales people:

Don’t have quality leads
Don’t know how to build a relationship with these consumers
OEMs should seriously reallocate their efforts and funds to ensuring their dealers get the leads as well as proper training on the process to handle those leads.Just imagine how much more a dealer could accomplish if they did not have to worry about finding quality leads but instead were properly trained in process and relationship building skills so they were better equipped to handle this type of customer.I mean, really, how many times can a sales consultant send the “Are you still interested?” or “When can you come in?” emails?I am a firm believer that most dealers simply have an internet lead close rate in the low to mid teens because either the customer was going to buy there anyway or they have re-entered the market and the customers initial dealer sent way too many “When can you come in?” emails….So listen up Automakers. If your dealerships sales consultants are not able to provide value to the customer at this point, they won’t have the opportunity to be the dealer of choice when they walk in the door. Quite possibly brand rejection could take place. Understand the consumer. Get your dealers QUALITY leads (read: push your tier 1 and 2 there). Put processes in place and train train train.Once you get that down, then worry about approving software. Really, what good is an “approved CRM provider” if the dealer doesn’t understand the consumer or know what to say and when to say it?