Summertime is quickly approaching, which means backyard BBQs, days spent poolside and plenty of family fun. For many people, the start of summer also means planning holidays, weekend getaways and much-loved cross country road trips. But have your customers thought about how their cars factor into the vacation equation?
While the days of icy roads and snow tires may be long gone, that doesn’t mean it’s time to get lax about car care. Although summer is synonymous with fun and relaxation, it also means scorching temperatures, afternoon thunderstorms and greater overall wear and tear on cars due to all that increased vacation mileage.
Providing proper car care education helps to establish a strong level of trust — which is crucial for securing a strong, repeat customer base.
Before they hit the road, make sure your customers properly prep for any upcoming summer trips by keeping these six car care tips in mind.
In case you’ve forgotten everything your middle school physics teacher taught you, here’s an important lesson to remember: as outside air temperatures rise during the summer months, the pressure in tires increases as well. To be more specific, for every 10 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature, tire pressure increases by one pound.
Not only are overinflated tires more likely to experience a blowout, they’re also more prone to wear and tear from the road. And if the tire tread becomes too worn down, car drivers are at risk for hydroplaning in one of those frequent summer downpours. The solution? Make sure your customers get their tires checked every summer, especially before a long road trip.
Oil keeps the engine cool and allows a car to run smoothly, so letting it become dirty and grimy can cause the engine to overheat (meaning car drivers could experience a mid-road trip breakdown).
Many car owners stick to a regular schedule when it comes to changing their oil, such as every three months. However, mileage is often a better indicator of when the oil needs to be replaced, especially during the summer months when drivers are racking up more mileage with vacations and weekend visits to the beach.
Make sure your customers know it’s good practice to have their oil checked before every long road trip, just to be sure all that extra driving hasn’t dirtied it up quicker than usual.
Keep engine cool
Although oil is an important component when it comes to keeping your engine from overheating, it’s not the only factor. Sitting in traffic on a hot summer day can cause your car to overheat if you have low coolant levels, or a busted hose or belt.
There’s a whole system in place keeping an engine cool; and if any of those individual pieces fail, a car driver could become stranded and dealing with a breakdown. Show customers how to check under the hood, or do it for them, to ensure they have sufficient coolant levels with no leaks, strong hoses and belts, and a clean radiator.
Between the ice, salt, snow and freezing temperatures, winter can be harsh on windshield wiper blades, causing the rubber to crack, crumble and tear.
Explain to customers why it’s never a good idea to embark on a road trip with subpar wipers, especially when a driver could face sudden summer thunderstorms with poor visibility. Instead, encourage them to go ahead and replace the whole blade, so they can be prepared for any weather that may come their way.
Ensure A/C is working
There’s nothing more miserable than the air conditioning giving out when cruising down the highway on a hot summer day — unless it fails while a driver is stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.
If your customers’ A/C isn’t getting cold enough, there could be a leak. So, either offer to check the problem out for them; or if you do not offer this service at your car care business suggest a professional that can offer a proper inspection and repair. Either way, you are building that all important trust with your clientele.
Car drivers who fail to check for any of the above car problems could cause severe damage, leading to an even more expensive repair bill, but neglecting brakes could cost them something much more precious. Make sure your customers take note of anything that doesn’t feel or sound right when braking in the days leading up to their trips, and encourage them to immediately check their brakes, if necessary. This pre-trip safety check is often overlooked, but could prove invaluable.
If you offer repair services, you might think a more expensive repair bill is better for your bottom line. However, by educating your customers on these simple prep tips, you’re actually setting your business up for more profits by establishing trust — which in turn builds a stronger, repeat customer base. Customers will appreciate your honesty, and then maybe even spread the word to their friends.
Moreover, by checking these six crucial components before your customers hit the road, you’ll help safeguard the efficiency of their vehicles and also lend a hand in the success of their summer getaways.
This summer, make sure your customers — and you — have fun, are safe and focus on what really matters: making memories that will last a lifetime.
Jessica Bridges is a blogger for Advance Auto Parts (AAP), the largest automotive aftermarket parts company in the U.S.