Every January, we set self-improvement plans for the New Year, and forget or abandon them before the calendar marks February. Why not encourage your detail clients to set car care resolutions instead to ensure their investment stays healthy for years to come? Tell your clients: No weight loss plans, no gym commitments, no painful personal changes bound to fail. Take on new car care habits that don’t require pain, discomfort, or disappointment – only pleasure and success! Lay out these New Year’s car care resolutions in the form of a five-point “clean routine” and position your business as a fount of car care information and education for your customers. It will provide plenty of opportunities for your business as well.

Headlights

           Today’s headlights are made of polycarbonate plastic and are susceptible to scratching, yellowing, and hazing caused by the heat of the bulbs. Even in luxury vehicles, the headlamps can require repair — not replacement — sooner than anything else, and it may be something the customer hadn’t noticed.
           Test your customer’s headlights to ensure they are producing 100 percent illumination. Explain to them that anything less is dangerous during inclement weather, fog, and night driving.
You can repair their headlights with a polishing technique for less than half the cost of replacement and it takes about half an hour.
           Another option is to sell headlight repair kits in your shop. It is a profitable revenue stream that can boost sales anytime, especially during inclement weather seasons.

Wheels
           No other part of the vehicle takes more abuse — especially during the winter — than the wheels. Explain to your clients that brake dust, road salt, and embedded road rash can quicken the corrosion of their metal wheels and rims if left to build up over the season.
           Make sure they understand only a professional like yourself can properly remove the gunk without scratching the metal. Detailers tell stories about do-it-yourselfers taking steel wool and metal brushes to their wheels to remove the muck, but those tools scratch the metal and cause something worse – rust!
           You have the proper tools and safe products necessary to break down the grease and safely remove corrosive contaminants. But you are not through. You have a line of ceramic metal coating products that protect their wheels against the dings and stings of a rough road and winter debris.
In fact, you can sell the application of ceramic coatings for their wheels as a preventative measure before harsh winter weather arrives.

Windshields
           If your customers have windshield cracks and/or bullseyes they have let sit for a while, remind them the contraction of the cold, followed by the expansion of heat from the winter’s sun, will worsen that flaw to the point of spreading.
           If they put off getting it fixed because it does not directly obscure their view, the problem will only worsen. It can even get bad enough to be dangerous and must be fixed immediately. Windshield repair is a growing add-on to a detailer’s revenue stream, and many product options exist.

Mold and Mildew
           Mold and mildew caused by wet raincoats, umbrellas, coats, galoshes, boots, and snow attire may not show up until spring, but it’s there. Explain to your customers they need to prevent mold and mildew before they get a toehold on their interiors with coatings for carpets, upholstery, carpets, mats, and even leather.
           Upholstery, carpets, mats, leather, and fabrics are all susceptible to dampness. If heaters running at full blast don’t bring out the stale odors, the spring and summer sun certainly will.
Coating products bond with interior fibers to prevent dampness and humidity from seeping down into the fibers and settling just underneath the surface, where it not only smells terrible but also causes allergies and sinus flair-ups, as well as headaches and sneezing.

HVAC
           Speaking of allergies, sneezing, and sinuses, an automobile’s HVAC system can blow more than heat into the interior this winter.
           As soon as fall arrives, leaves and tree debris begin falling, landing on every vehicle. Pinecones, sticks, hay, dust, dirt, rotting leaves, sap, pollen, and — don’t ask — collect between the windshield and the hood of the car, just below the windshield wipers. That is where the air ventilation system is located.
           If that area is not kept free of debris and the air filter is not regularly replaced, it can become a nest of minuscule allergens and contamination that blow right into the interior.

Resolutions for All
           Customers in very wintry climates have different problems from those in milder climates. But there is something about winter everywhere that slows people down and makes them think their vehicle doesn’t need the same care it does during the spring and summer.
           But this is not true. A bullseye windshield, corroded wheels, dusty headlights, and pet, kid, and people grime may not be as top of mind in January and February. Still, it is a hidden enemy that will raise its head eventually.
           So be proactive. Look for new lines of revenue and products that can sustain your detailing business regardless of the environment. After all — vehicles cost a fortune these days — your customers must resolve to maintaining that investment!

Kimberly Ballard has been writing and doing PR for the automotive industry for more than 20 years, covering automotive detailing and a variety of mobile tech services. She can be reached via e-mail at Kimberly@kimberlywritescreative.com and on her website, www.KimberlyWritesCreative.com.