Low Oil = Big Opportunity, Part 2

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Your customer comes in, and you discover the oil level is low. Why it’s low doesn’t matter as much as what this means for their vehicle (read my January column for the why). Low oil brings a large array of problems and risks. Corrosion, oxidation, more consumption, more sludge and soot, metal wear and ethanol contamination are just a few. While gasoline direct injection (GDI) systems increase the problems, all vehicles with low oil need your help. First, the obvious choices are simple. Try to educate the consumer to return for more frequent oil changes. The consumption together with extended drain intervals can really decrease both the performance and the efficiency of the engine but also increase repair costs and shorten the life of the engine. Most of you offer free top-offs, but make sure they understand the value that truly represents. You want customers to build healthy habits and build trust in you. It all starts with explaining how low the oil was when they pulled in. This not only sets up the explanation of the above recommendations, but also the following helpful offerings from your menu.

Fuel Services and Supplements Carbon is the culprit here. Oil gets in the combustion chamber past the rings. More contaminants reach the intake valves via the crankcase ventilation system.

Oil System Cleaners Lower oil levels increase dangerous soot and sludge build-up in the engine. Regular oil system cleaner usage can help get and keep the engine as clean as possible, increasing performance and engine life.

Engine Sealer Make sure to inspect the rear main seal for leaks, seeping and weeping. Offer them the option of a sealer to keep the oil on the job and prolong the need for expensive seal replacement.

Oil Supplements One or more of the following can address much of the harm low oil brings: • Anti-wear metal treatments • High-mileage oil or additives • Viscosity improvers can reduce consumption, smoking and noise • Detergents, the right ones, not only reduce crankcase sludge build up, but some can also fog to reach the deposits on back of intake valves • Ethanol damage controllers, corrosion inhibitors and anti-oxidants, since lower oil levels equal higher ethanol as a percentage of the remaining fluid mix It’s no coincidence that these ingredients are many of the components found in the oil itself, but it’s not there at its designed levels. GDI systems can increase the need for help, and this column is addressing low oil levels regardless of cause. Just make sure to use GDI-strength products for them. Don’t know which of your customers have GDI engines? I have the only known list of all current GDI engines available. Just contact me to get it. Marketing comes organically by identifying the oil level and reviewing your findings with your guests. A low oil level package can make it easier for both employees and customers to make the smart choice. The law of unintended consequences has delivered a need for consumers and an opportunity for you to serve and profit. Next month, I will have an open letter to the driving public to help educate and inform.

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