National Oil & Lube News

May 2017

Digital issues of National Oil & Lube News, the trade magazine for the preventive maintenance industry

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42 NOLN | www.noln.net VIEWPOINT Keep On Rolling Rotations and Balancers — The Big "Why" by Max Glassburg Successful lube shops take pride in exercising best business practices: friendly customer service, fast turnaround times and com- petitive pricing. ese are all essential components that need to be in place for your business to remain profitable in a difficult industry, but is it enough? To stay ahead of the curve, many shops across the country are adding wheel service to their menu of service capabilities, mainly tire rotation and wheel balancing. Tire rotations are crucial to the longevity of any vehicle's tires. e front tires usually wear faster than the rear tires, so it is import- ant to rotate them to prevent uneven tread wear. e beauty of rotating tires is it does not take more than a few minutes, and the benefit to your customers is immeasurable. A small team can conceivably rotate four tires, top off some fluids and change a car's oil without adding extra time. at is a ton of added value at little or no cost to your busi- ness. According to the 2016 National Oil & Lube News Fast Lube Operators Survey, 16 percent of oil change locations sell tires, and when offered, 53 percent of customers purchase them. e majority of those shops now selling tires are servicing them, as well. e survey also states many shops in our industry are now offering wheel balancing and tire rota- tions as a way to diversify their service offerings to increase profits. One rea- son wheel service has found a place in the quick lube industry is because of the inexpensive equipment. ese ser- vices are also fairly simple to execute, and the equipment does not take up much space in your shop. A Multi-Purpose Tire Rotation Lift Let's start with what you probably al- ready know. ere is no such thing as a "tire rotation lift." e term is actually low or mid-rise frame engaging lift. In this category, there are usually two different types: surface-mount- ed versions that simply rest on your floor surface and flush-mount mod- els that require a recess to be formed or cut into your existing foundation. Typically, users of these lifts will have one mechanic doing oil and fluid service while another is pulling off wheels. Be More Than a Lube Pit Nothing matters like your reputation. Being the highest-rated and best-reviewed lube station in town will make your shop pop up first on search engines when people hastily do common internet searches for "oil change near me." Potential customers are not going to spend much time on their search, so you better have the accommo- dating services and five-star rating they want. When playing the law of averages, your first goal should be to capture as much of your potential customer base as possible by offering the most commonly performed ser- vices in the industry. Tire rotations are an easy service to start with. Do not be afraid to brag a little about the quality and number of services you offer. Customers respect confi- dence as long as you can back it up with great customer service and all the amenities they need. Find the "Perfect Balance" In addition to a solid pit lift, a good wheel balancer is another piece of equipment that should be on your list of must-haves. When you consider all they will do for your business, getting one for your shop is a clear no-brainer. Wheel balancers identify exactly where a little tape or hammer-on wheel weights need to be added to prevent vibrations and tread wear associated with wheel imbalances. In addition to tire rotations, wheel balancing is one of the most useful operations a shop can perform. When balancing, the floor-to- floor time is about one minute per wheel, and since you are already rotating someone's tires, wheel balancers offer great value to your shop. e longer you keep customers on the road, the more return business you are going to get. Which Wheel Balancer Do I Choose? ere is a lot of competition out there, and wheel balancers come in all shapes and sizes. Some have nifty features that automatical- ly take in your tire measurements so you do not have to manually measure the tire offset, diameter and width. e more wheels you balance, the more features you should consider. Do some re- search on different manufacturers and dis- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "TIRE ROTATION LIFT." THE TERM IS ACTUALLY LOW OR MID-RISE FRAME ENGAGING LIFT. THERE ARE USUALLY TWO DIFFERENT TYPES: SURFACE-MOUNTED VERSIONS THAT SIMPLY REST ON YOUR FLOOR AND FLUSH-MOUNT MODELS THAT REQUIRE A RECESS TO BE FORMED OR CUT INTO YOUR EXISTING FOUNDATION.

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