All over the UK drivers are failing their MOTs and paying out hundreds of pounds unnecessarily because they are not having simple maintenance carried out on their vehicles. If you run a garage, offering basic maintenance to drivers can turn them into loyal customers and help you make money.
Government figures show that the average driver in the UK has to fix faults worth £272 after each MOT. The price of the MOT itself is now £54.85, which means an annual cost to drivers of a startling £326.
Those of us in the motor trade know that many of the issues highlighted through MOTs are entirely preventable with some basic maintenance. Therefore, it’s important to promote your basic maintenance services to your customers to start building valuable customer loyalty.
Failing an MOT can be a major blow
Half of all drivers would consider taking on debt to keep their car on the road
A survey by WhoCanFixMyCar.com found that almost half of drivers said they would think about getting into debt just to keep their car on the road.
If a car fails an MOT due to a dangerous fault, it can no longer be driven. If the driver continues to drive the car, they can be fined up to £2,500 and could be banned from driving. Some 46 per cent of drivers say they have, at some point, had a car that has failed an MOT and have struggled to find the cash needed to get the problems fixed.
There’s no doubt that failing an MOT can be a major blow to many drivers. Having a car is an essential, not a luxury, for many and a large number of drivers need their car to get to work or to take their children to school, for example.
As a garage owner, you can help your customers ensure that they never fail their MOT simply because they didn’t carry out basic maintenance – and they will thank you for it.
Basic maintenance checks you should be offering customers
• Tyre checks
Checking the condition and tread of tyres with a tread depth gauge
• Bulb checking and changing
Some 40 per cent of MOT check failures are down to bulbs being out
• Handbrake checking
Check that the cable doesn’t need replacing
• Checking shock absorbers
Bouncing the car’s corners can highlight any problems here
• Checking windscreen for cracks and chips
These can easily be fixed but will lead to an MOT failure if they are left to enlarge
• Replacing worn wiper blades
Needs to be performed regularly
• Checking and topping up brake fluid
An easy thing to do, but few drivers remember
• Check mirror and steering wheel
Both can indicate problems that could lead to the failure of an MOT
• Check for cracks in number plates
A cracked number plate could be a failed MOT
• Replace faulty exhaust pipes
Leaks can be identified easily and fixed quite cheaply
• Check seat belt quality
Fraying and weakness could be a fail-worthy offense
Promoting your basic maintenance services
How can you help your customers avoid hefty MOT costs?
It’s true that drivers can carry out these checks themselves at home, and many will. However, it’s up to you to promote the savings to be made by getting the checks done professionally before an MOT. Drivers can easily miss something important or make a mistake while carrying out these checks.
All of these things can be checked as part of a pre-MOT annual service – an easy way of highlighting issues to customers and ensuring they get through their MOT without undue surprises.
Offering basic maintenance checks as standard when someone books their car into your garage will help to generate a sense of loyalty among your customers.
Part of developing trust between yourself and your customers is making sure that you have sufficient motor trade insurance in place. This ensures continuity of service and full cover in case a problem arises.
Spread the word
A great way to inform drivers of your services is through social media
As well as informing your customers about the risks of maintenance ignorance and how costly is can be, don’t forget to promote the basic maintenance services your garage provides. A great way to reach drivers who might easily forget to book their car in for regular maintenance is through social media.
You can use Facebook and Twitter to drop ‘reminders’ to drivers about the risks of ignoring things like broken bulbs, windscreen chips and faulty handbrake cables.
Finally, don’t forget to remind your customers that simple maintenance could be the difference between a failed MOT and an easy pass! If smaller faults are left unnoticed or are not repaired, they can lead to much more serious problems that will be costly to fix and could also lead to accidents.
Promoting this message to drivers coming through your company is great for regular business as well as an important stepping stone to selling larger services or products through the relationships you build.