When it comes to our health, the word “better” includes mainly: strength, sufficient time, courage, dignity, etc.

However, when it comes to difficult moments in life: survival, psychological strength, stamina, opportunities etc. When the end comes to materials goods, then the word “better” is identified primarily with cost. Since a number of researches (documented or not, valid and informal), firmly insist to show the economical effects brought by preventing instead of correcting, maybe we as professionals in the automotive industry, should redouble our efforts to make our customers understand, that when it comes to maintenance (service) … we are talking about direct and indirect savings!

Times are tough and the customers’ objection walls are standing huge and crust before us, every time we are trying to convince the Greek citizen who is by all means nowadays, tested. Ioannis Ritsos wrote:

« “If I can not make it visible from you too, it is like I do not have it” »

This apothegm is full of content, brutal and merciless! We know well that the adherence to the preventive maintenance program of any machine manufacturer (and not even as complex as a car) in the long term, maintain the high value and saves a lot of money. But, it is not enough, if we “have” it! Value is accomplished when what one knows is able to pass it to the one to whom the services, knowledge and prompts are targeted to.

It is true that the car repairer has an amazing privilege. Awareness of the car owner for the maintenance schedule from the manufacturer, is remarkable. He might not perform the preventive health check (check up) annually as recommended by doctors, with very unpleasant consequences, sometimes; he might neglect a lot of other things … “diligently” and the “cost” in many different ways, might be “expensive”, but the majority of car owners are very consistent for the annual car screening! When one sees the indication in the display or run out of miles according to the workshop instructions, then he will start planning a visit or in any case he will start feeling uncomfortable compared due to his inconsistency.

So it is a great omission on our part, not to let our customer know the real value of the services provided. Maintenance, as the car manufacturer requires (it is no coincidence that all car manufacturers “think” in the same way), is a series of checks for critical points of the car and replacements in order to prevent sometimes expensive damages. Avoiding the preventive visits at the workshop and the parts’ replacements (oil – filter) may seem economical. Actually it is not. In addition, it does not provide the driver with the necessary feeling and objective security, that a qualified and well-trained technician, spent the time recommended by the manufacturer to check and confirm that the car is reliable and safe to transport human lives over the period until the next scheduled maintenance. Except for the security which is a side benefit, however significant for the customer, the proper maintenance contributes in reducing the fuel consumption:

1. Economical operation and clean well maintained engine (contribution from 5 to 7%)
2. Savings from replacing dirty and clogged air filter (contribution to 10%)
3. Setting the right pressure and timely replacement of worn tires (contribution 3 to 7%)
4. Using engine oil recommended by the manufacturer (2% contribution)

On the other side the customer should see the workshop as a counseling to reduce consumption relating to good practice:
1. The roof rack, increases fuel consumption by up to 5%
2. If the cap fuel tank is not well screwed, allows fuel to evaporate
3. Carrying excessive and unnecessary weight increases consumption
4. Unnecessary use of the air conditioner, increases consumption by 8%
5. Relaxed driving without sudden changes of speed, using the highest possible gear on the gearbox, avoiding RPM reaching the red entries, use cruise control if possible, right route planning (off-peak hours, roads-peak), stop the engine if the car is stopped for more than 10 seconds, driving with the windows closed, etc. improve unbelievably consumption

It is therefore imperative to upgrade our services and our role, offering real quality! We should remind our customers that the proper maintenance of their car, costs as much as a small part of the savings guaranteed.

Constantinos Mitropapas

(Published in the magazine Autospecialist, January 2013)