Summer has finally arrived! We all know what that means- warm weather, sunny days, more free time, more traveling and summer road trips, more trips to the gas station, more mileage on vehicles, and of course, more car maintenance!
During the summer months, beginning mid-June until the end of September, travel and mileage increase drastically. Individuals have different events, vacations, and day trips to attend. As their schedule of events continues to grow, so does their “to do” list of vehicle maintenance items.
According to the AAA Newsroom, as temperatures continue to get warmer and the length of the day grows longer, more drivers want to take road trips. On average, Americans drive the least amount of miles during the winter months; they drive the most during the summer months. A Washington Top News survey shows that in 2015, the average mileage per day from January through March was 25.7, whereas the summer months of July through September grew to 30.6 or more.
According to a survey by Bridgestone Americas, Inc., almost 90% of Americans 18 or older plan to take at least one summer road trip—where they will travel 50 miles or more from home. Out of that 90%, one in five will travel for Independence Day. The same survey showed that Americans are willing to drive an average of 660 miles during the summer. These travelers want to get their oil changed, check their tires, and make sure their cooling system is running smoothly before they hit the road.
An increase in mileage during the summer is quite common among Canadian drivers, as well. According to the nationally distributed Canadian newspaper, Globe and Mail, Inc., driving to summer vacations and getaways was the “smart money vacation choice” in 2015. With high flight expenses during the summer months, Canadians took to the roads for their vacation traveling.
With notable increases in travel and mileage throughout the summer months, vehicle maintenance is an important factor on the pre-road trip checklist of both Americans and Canadians.
Bridgestone Americas surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults and found that 94% schedule regular vehicle maintenance before a summer road trip or vacation in their personal vehicle. Out of those who schedule maintenance before they hit the road, 72% had their fluids checked, 70% had their tire pressure checked, and 59% had their oil changed.
Even though the majority of U.S. summer vacationers perform maintenance before their vacations, there are always unexpected problems with summer travel that are vehicle related. Fifty percent of those surveyed by Bridgestone agreed that one of the worst experiences during a road trip is a flat tire. A flat tire can definitely ruin spirits on a road trip, but not as bad as a fender bender. Out of the 2,000 U.S. drivers surveyed, 74% revealed a fender bender is their worst nightmare during summer travels. If an unexpected fender bender or vehicle breakdown occurs near by your shop, you could be the knight in shining armor.
Picture the happy family of four driving along a close by interstate or backroad route. The back passenger tire on their vehicle blows out. According to AAA, tire blowouts are very common during the summer because hot weather causes the air inside your tires to expand, which may lead to a blowout in well-worn wheels. With no reaction time possible Dad swerves a bit. He coasts to the side of the road and parks on the shoulder. This is where the search on his smartphone begins. He looks up “tire replacements near me,” “auto service centers near me,” “towing services near me”, etc. Dad is strictly relying on the GPS location of his phone to find shops and services nearby. Having a mobile-friendly and responsive site that shows up for local searches is critical to make your business look legitimate to travelers.
Running summer promotions or having special walk-in hours could boost your sales. Your business may or may not be a traveler’s only option for tire replacement, towing service, or an unexpected need for vehicle maintenance. Make sure people from out-of-town find your shop first for help in their time of need, by having a website that will show up in local searches, is mobile-friendly, has informative readily available, and is easy to navigate. Helping customers when they are in moments of despair may lead to the exceptional reviews or testimonials you have waited for, and it will help them remember your business the next time they are in need of your services!
Do the majority of drivers in the United States and Canada schedule vehicle maintenance before beginning their summer road trips? Yes. Does this always assure a trip free of vehicle issues from start to finish? No. Promoting your shop to those who schedule pre-travel checkups for their personal vehicle and those who have unforeseen issues occur during their travels is a step in the right direction this summer.
Assure your customers that it’s a smart choice to schedule maintenance with you if they are taking a long distance trip this summer. Let potential shop visitors know that you can lend a helping hand if their vacation voyage has complications without warning. Don’t miss out on bringing regular customers back to your business for special maintenance this summer. Don’t count out people from out-of-town when looking for new business.
Remember, “It’s funny how someone who is a stranger can become so important to you,” when you receive an unexpected call or drop in visit at your shop. If you have the time, lend the helping hand, because YOU and your business could be the stranger that became important to that customer in despair. Your shop reviews and reputation will thank you!