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The Zen of OEM
Your mantra when it comes to parts should be “Original.”
Summer is driving season. If your customers aren’t thinking about preventive maintenance before a family road trip, it may be up to you to remind them. After all, you want their vehicle to be ready for the road. Plus, your proactive care can translate into short-term sales and long-term loyalty. It offers you the opportunity to teach your customer about the differences between original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and original equipment supplier (OES) parts.
In order to do that, you need to understand the differences yourself. In a statement: original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are superior to original equipment supplier (OES) parts.
And They Can Prove It
OEM parts are developed and engineered to proprietary corporate engineering standards. Moreover, OEM parts are validated and durability tested from early-production prototype to ensure that they are ready for every specific application.
This application-specific testing is critical for you and your customers. It ensures that:
• Drivers and customers stay happy with your repair over the long haul
• Comebacks and costly do-overs are minimized
• Every OEM part, right down to a unique flange or bracket, is tested for the application
• Installations go faster and smoother and often include installation tips on the accompanying instructions
Where OEM Succeeds, OES May Not
OES parts are reverse-engineered by competing suppliers. But what reverse-engineered means is often unknown. While they may do testing, it is usually on the most popular applications only. For example, an OES part might have been tested in a mass-market family sedan application, but not in a sport utility vehicle or light truck. While it might fit, the OES part hasn’t always been validated and durability proven across multiple applications, so it might not be an easy install for you, and it may not be a great parts choice for your customer.
The fact of the matter is OEM parts are the same parts the factory used during the vehicle build while OES parts are not.
OEM vs. OES
At the end of the day, it’s a victory for OEM parts, when you consider the full-line application validation and testing of factory-engineered parts, components and assemblies. OEM parts deliver the quality customers — and your shop’s hard-earned reputation — deserve.
Summer is the Time to go the Extra Mile
With a business philosophy centered on long-term loyalty vs. short-term sales, you can build customer loyalty with a few extra steps that help prepare their vehicles for safe travel. Like asking questions about issues they may not have considered. For instance, have they secured carriers and racks? Checked their vehicle’s towing capabilities? Considered ways to improve mileage? Small efforts can make a big difference in securing repeat visits and customer referrals.
Summer Maintenance Checklist
Many customers may not have added vehicle maintenance totheir summer travel checklist. A comprehensive inspection completed during each visit can be helpful in preventing potential issues on the road.
Use this checklist as a go-to for every vehicle you see this summer:
__ Check tires. Look for shallow tread and uneven wear. Make sure inflation levels match anticipated loads
__ Change oil & filter. Make sure to use oil with proper seasonal viscosity
__ Replace wiper blades. Clear visibility in rainy conditions makes for safer summer travel
__ Check all fluids. Top off as necessary
__ Check hoses and belts. The cooling system depends on these pliable parts
__ Check brakes. Always critical, brake checks are even more important when towing is anticipated
__ Change air filter. Critical when anticipating operation in dusty conditions. A fresh filter increases fuel efficiency, too
__ Check radiator and coolant. Hot weather puts more pressure on cooling systems
__ Check battery. How old is the current unit? If it’s still good, clean it, ensure connections are robust and add distilled water if necessary
__ Check air conditioning. Check for leaks, recharge as necessary and install a clean cabin filter as necessary to help the system run more efficiently