A Castrol report found 31.9 per cent of motorists took vehicles aged under four-years-old to the independent sector, which now makes up 68 per cent of the entire oil change market, excluding top-ups.
The number of oil changes has been falling: in 2005, 70.3 per cent of drivers had an oil change carried out but by 2011, the figure had fallen to just 59.7 per cent.
Research from Mobil 1 reveals almost one in five from their sample of 1,000 UK drivers only check their engine oil when an instrument panel warning sign is activated.
Almost two thirds changed their oil once a year at most whilst 8.6 per cent hadn’t changed their vehicle oil in two years and 45.7 per cent had no idea of their vehicle manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals.
CarVue Marketing Director, Alec Knight said: “With such a lax attitude to the importance of oil changes for the continuing smooth running and upkeep of vehicles among motorists, garage owners could encourage more business by communicating the benefits of a regular oil change to customers even if it forms part of a fixed price service.”
Any campaign would need to coincide with educating consumers that oil is not an unnecessary expense, and provide staff with the training they need in order to confidently overcome objections.
Alex added: “Offering customers free interim health checks or when a motorist is more likely to be embarking on a long journey, just before the summer or in the run-up to Christmas, could also be an opportunity to boost oil sales especially if you are upfront in your offer.
“Garage owners could also take a leaf out of the franchised dealers’ book and consider implementing an electronic vehicle health check system known as an eVHC.
By implementing such procedures, garages can boost business as well as providing customers with additional confidence that their car’s condition is being well looked after.
As well as identifying mechanical work, wear and tear and repairs, the eVHC system will also highlight oil requirements.
“With many oil suppliers viewing themselves more as business partners, it is well worth garage owners talking to their account manager to find out if they can take advantage of other products and services provided by the oil supplier,” Alex explained.
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