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  • The Lie of Preventive Maintenance

    Posted by Tom Ham on April 24, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Most service advisors and techs, and shop owners for that matter, don’t really believe in the importance of preventive maintenance. That makes convincing customers to buy maintenance services difficult to say the least.

    Odds are that if you are reading this, you (and most everyone else at your shop) don’t really believe in it. It’s not that hard to check.

    Take the most common maintenance services, leave out the ones that are more debatable. Apply the most conservative (longest) intervals to them.

    Now, score the vehicles that you and your staff or coworkers own. From what I have seen, very few are well maintained and many are poorly maintained. Quite a few never see service other than the occasional oil change unless they break.

    Are you wondering why your shop doesn’t perform more PM? Are your techs and advisors recommending services that they would never or rarely do on their own cars? Are you living the lie? 

    theperfectday replied 8 years, 1 month ago 7 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
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  • davide

    April 28, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I have seen it in many service writers eyes as I talk with them about selling maintenance. I took one of my vehicles in for a 50K service a little early and told them to do all of it. They questioned me to see if I was sure I wanted to do all of it. This was actually the owner rather than a service writer.

    I wonder how many shop owner’s vehicles have had all the maintenance performed? Just a thought! All of us may be guilty of this in one form or another. I agree it will the extend the life of vehicle components. It does cost money and it is easier to use what could be considered “extra cash” for higher priorities. (customers or shop employees) 
    Matthew – I have heard your material. It would be very worthwhile for shop owners!
  • joecval

    April 29, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Everybody looks at things through some sort of preconceived lens. I would agree completely that if the SA or Owner doesn’t believe enough in the the PM they are going to have a hard time selling it to the customer. The lens of acting proactively or reactive plays a big role in how you address PM. How many people go to the dentist for cleanings once or twice a year (Proactive) How many go only when something hurts (Reactive) I want an SA, and myself to look through the lens of being proactive. If PM has no value to you how can you explain it your customers?

  • Tom Ham

    April 29, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Funny that you mentioned dentist. My uncle is my dentist. He is 82. Best dentist in town. I have had an appointment to see him every 6 months as long as I can recall. When I first found out that everyone did not see their dentist every 6 months I was quite surprised. 

  • Larry Moore

    April 29, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Multiple fleet studies have shown that predictive maintenance can save 30-50% in the cost of vehicle ownership over the life of the vehicle.  I don’t think the term preventive is subconsciously believable by most people, they know their car will break, they just hope it won’t. 
    “Predictive” maintenance is based on regularly checking predetermined items on a basis of catching them before they break on the road (if at all possible) but more importantly letting the owner know as early as possible that it is coming up.  They subconsciously believe we know everything about their car and can predict what is going to break.  (don’t I wish) It only takes one time of telling a customer that something is ready to fail, and having it fail as predicted to turn them in believers. 

    A predictive approach is what is used by major fleets and airlines to keep their fleet moving and the cost as low as possible with the highest reliability. 

    When I interview a SA or Tech I want to see what they drive and how it has been taken care of, it it looks and sounds good for its age I know I have a better chance of having someone who believes in predictive maintenance already. 

    Roughly 1/3 of our customers book their next 6 month visit before they leave this visit, all but about 10% agree to have us notify them when they are due in 6 months.  It really smooths out the ups and downs of the business, and makes for local customers. 

    The bad news is my regular long time customers don’t need much work that we have not already done or predicted, so their average ticket is less than new customers. But I will accept that for the more stable work load this provides.  Learned it all from my dentist.  🙂

  • saeengineer

    April 30, 2014 at 8:05 am

    I’ve seen a ton of passenger cars with really high mileage that have only had tires, oil changes and brakes done.  So it is possible for the average consumer to get by without it.

    But, I think the fleet maintenance is the strongest evidence for PM.

    When PM is ignored in some fleet vehicles and not others the difference is apperent.
  • Richard Zaagman

    May 1, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I have techs that drive old, cheap cars that are not worth maintaining, so I understand why they don’t do preventative maintenance, neither would I if I drove junk, but I choose not to.  I enjoy driving and owning nice vehicles, so I do the maintenance necessary to keep them going to 300,000 miles or longer.  Sold my Volvo a few years ago, bought it new.  Drove it over 18 years, brought my twins home from the hospital in it, taught them how to driver in it.  Transmission and engine, never taken out or apart while I owned it.  Had just under 300k on it when I sold it.  Needed nothing when I sold it, just got sick of it after 18 years.

    My S/As drive cars that are nicer.  One performs all the maintenance, the other not so much.  I think he’s just not wanting to spend his time or money and is willing to take a chance.  He believes in in enough to sell it though.

    I don’t currently have S/As who have issues selling maintenance but I have been there before, those S/As no longer work here.

  • theperfectday

    May 1, 2014 at 11:22 am

    There has been a lot of good points back and forth but one thing that no one has touched on so far is the positioning of preventive maintenance to your customers. 

    Look cars today are built better than ever before. I know you all know this. But cars have also gotten more expensive to purchase and more expensive to repair. Our customers know this and that makes them nervous about breakdowns.  
    As shop owners and service managers, it is easy to take the risk of not performing preventive maintenance because we can get things done so cheap. Plus we know what will happen if this part goes bad and how long its going to take to fix and all the rest.

    We need to think from our customers perspective. They don’t know cars like we do. As I just said the thought of breakdowns, and expensive repairs, and all the trouble that comes with car issues is almost terrifying for them.

    Is preventive maintenance a guarantee against all vehicle failures? Of course not but no one in their right mind would argue that a properly maintained vehicle at 200k miles is not more dependable than the same vehicle that only got an oil change ever 3k miles. 
    So the best way to position the preventive maintenance is a small investment for a lot of piece of mind. This works best with the wealthier crowd. I recommend you target your marketing efforts at attracting those clients. 
    Its no more difficult to market to wealthy clients and get them to come into your shop than it is to market to every broke Joe, however the wealthy are much easier to please and they buy much more work especially preventive maintenance The heart and head ache of breakdowns or potential breakdowns is more scary than dropping a grand or two in preventive maintenance.