Hankook Tire’s recent research shows that a lot of drivers are neglecting vehicle maintenance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, more drivers intend to perform their own maintenance moving forward. Here’s how you can turn that into an opportunity to drive sales for your business.
How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting auto service industries
Research from Hankook Tire shows that 48% of Americans have delayed or canceled a vehicle maintenance appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, even more have not been performing routine maintenance like topping off fluids (73%) or regularly using accurate tire pressure gauge (70%).
“It is understandable that with restrictions in place this spring, many did not take their vehicles in for professional maintenance,” said Daniel Brown, Senior Technical Services Specialist, Hankook Tire America Corp. “However, as respondents said they focused less on maintaining their vehicles, this could lead to mechanical problems for many drivers down the road as research shows that Americans plan to drive more in the coming months. While some maintenance can be performed at home, a visit with a professional mechanic is often important to diagnose small issues before they turn into costly repairs.”
While this research may have negative implications for the long-term vehicle health of many drivers and the short-term health of the professional mechanic industry, it also displays a need for providing customers with do-it-yourself options in other automobile service industries – especially when it pertains to things like car tire air pressure gauges.
What does this research mean for your business?
Hankook’s data indicates that many drivers plan to perform their own maintenance moving forward, which will affect tire pressure and air filling habits as well. This provides some businesses with an interesting opportunity.
Research shows that 49% of Americans are now checking their own tire pressures and filling with digital air filling machines, rather than taking their vehicles to a mechanic. This means that gas stations, convenience stores, dealerships, auto rental locations, and tire shops need to provide customers with access to free self-service digital air filling machines.
For many businesses, the practice of offering free accurate tire pressure gauges has been an important part of the marketing process in the past. It provides customers with a free service while allowing technicians and mechanics to evaluate vehicles. Should the technician or mechanic notice any issues, it gives them a chance to sell new tires, parts, or services.
The problem with that strategy is that it typically requires customers to park, go into a waiting room, and speak to a mechanic or technician. In our current environment, many customers are anxious about unnecessary human interaction and are likely to avoid setting foot inside the shop if they don’t have to.
“As an industry, we need to think about what we can do to adjust to how people want things done,” Roger Audette, Director of Sales and Marketing at Excel Tire Gauge says.
The installation and use of self-service digital air filling machines like the SC05, SC09, and SC12, allows businesses to adapt to the new normal and take advantage of the opportunity to sell to the “do-it-yourself” maintenance customers.
For tire shops, this strategy allows customers to service their own vehicles while still positioning the shop to make sales. Should that customer notice issues with their vehicle, while using their own tire air pressure gauge or inflating their tires with digital air machines at gas stations, they will then be able to turn to that business for help.
In the case of gas stations and convenience stores, this works by providing customers with a accurate tire pressure gauge. This would improve foot traffic, provide the opportunity to sell more gas and other goods, and improve customer loyalty. Dealerships and auto rental locations can experience similar benefits as well.