Breathe Easy: The Scoop on PCV Valves and Breathers
In the current state of the economy, every business is struggling to increase its profit margin. As Tom Cruise so famously stated in Jerry Maguire, “Show me the money!” So, how do you as a quick lube owner get your customers to show you more money?
One way is to include more add-on services in your repertoire. Positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve and breather replacements can add revenue to your operation with little cost.
Before the PCV system was invented, an amount of air and gasoline would be pulled down by the car’s pistons and would escape through the piston rings into the crankcase, which insulates and protects the crankshaft. This combination produces a gas that is referred to as blow-by, and there’s no way to avoid it. The blow-by gas is not something you want collecting in your engine. It can create problems in the crankcase and clog up the system.
Before the early 1960s, cars would disperse of blow-by gases by letting air freely travel through the crankcase and letting it ventilate as emissions. It was soon discovered that those emissions were causing air pollution.
To help diminish the effects of car emissions and air pollution, the PCV system was created. It was first introduced in the early 1960s and is considered to be the beginning of automobile emission control.
The PCV system helps to recycle the blow-by gases through the PCV valve to the intake manifold where they make their way back to the cylinders to be burned off again. A breather works in tandem with the PCV system and is what pumps fresh air into the motor. That air mixes with the blow-by gases so they can be consumed during the combustion process, allowing for the reduction of emissions and helping vehicles run more efficiently.
Why should you run out and stock one of your shelves with PCV valves and breathers? They’re low-cost items that will improve your profits.
“In general, PCVs and breathers are fairly easy to get to and replace,” said Zackary Irons, manager of Blue Lube in Worland, Wyoming. “The cost of each is relatively cheap, which allows for the possibility of a small profit to increase your bottom line.”
Though PCV valves and breathers aren’t in high demand, they are important enough that your shop should keep them on hand in case a customer needs one replaced at a moment’s notice.
“Other lube shops should offer this service,” Irons said. “If PCVs and breathers become clogged or dirty, problems with the motor and emissions control can occur.”
In the 2013 National Oil & Lube News Fast Lube Operator Survey, the average price to replace a PCV was $9.19, and the average price for a breather replacement was $8.64. Clearly, there is an opportunity to make a decent profit on these two small components.
“It’s a low-cost item that can help boost sales,” Irons said.
Though PCV valves and breathers may not be the hottest ticket items around, they are still worthy of consideration. With a low expenditure costs and the possibility for profit, these two items will have your customers showing you more money in no time.