Additives: Opportunities for Success


Let’s face it. Every lube shop from here to there is looking for any reasonable way to increase their ticket average, thereby increasing the bottom line and profit margins for the shop.

  While there are many shops around the country that post excellent ticket averages and car counts on a consistent daily basis, there is certainly no reason why even those shops could not prop up tickets another $5 daily with a concerted effort to increase additive sales.

  The beauty of additive sales is many-fold:

·       Easy methods and training to use most products

·       Does not require any specialized tools in most circumstances

·       Does not increase service times in many cases

·       Does not require monitoring by tech while additive is working

·       Very wide variety of products available for just about any specific vehicle need or requirement

  Additives are absolutely a savior when it comes to running any lube shop, for they provide tested, tried and reliable results and can be depended upon to deliver noticeable benefits that your customers can see and feel.

Here are some of the most popular:

1.         Oil System Cleaner

This product does exactly what the name says it does — it helps clean the oiling system of the engine, promoting a more thorough drain of the old engine oil.

Simply add it to the dirty oil before draining and run for just five minutes. This product has a safe and effective chemical formulation that gently emulsifies (liquefies) softer sludge deposits, allowing them to drain away with the old oil during the oil change.

It is a more complete drain of old dirty remnants from the engine compared to a simple oil change without an oil system cleaner.

Typically, we recommend this treatment every third oil change for customers who change their oil on time, or at every oil change for those who go beyond their recommended drain intervals.

2.         Gas Additive

A simple pour-in product for the gas tank. Most of these additives are an effective combination of fuel injector cleaner with some other necessary components to help remove moisture from the fuel tank as well as stabilize the fuel itself. Check with your particular additive supplier to find out exactly what their product is designed to do, so you can represent it accurately to your customers.

In my shops, this product, along with the above-mentioned oil system cleaner, are bundled together in a nice package that is very gently recommended at the very beginning of the service, before the oil has been drained. This package easily achieves 30 percent or greater sales in my shops daily.  On a very busy day, it is an excellent method to maintain a healthy ticket all day while at the same time not increasing service times — allowing you to service more cars. Win-win.

3.         Engine Stop-Leak

A no-brainer far too many shops just ignore. Nearly every car you service with 75,000 or more miles will probably exhibit some kind of motor oil leak from somewhere: valve cover gaskets, main seals, etc.

Most of these leaks are annoying but not so severe that the customer wants to spend hundreds, or maybe thousands, to get the leak fixed.

Many times, the simple addition of an oil system stop-leak additive at every oil change will slow down and eventually stop the oil leaks — and for much less expense than what a mechanic may charge to tear down and repair the leak.

An easy sale for those customers who need it.

 

4.         Engine Oil Stabilizers

Older, worn engines may exhibit some slight mechanical noises and maybe burn some excessive oil in between regular oil changes. We all know there are plenty of these customers who visit our shops daily.

Even though their engines may have “seen a better day” as it were, they can still run perfectly fine and give acceptable and dependable performance for many thousands of miles and years to come — as long as they are treated with a little extra attention and care.

An engine stabilizer additive is usually a very viscous petroleum additive that increases the viscosity of the fresh motor oil, so as to help prevent excessive oil consumption.

In addition, most stabilizer products feature a healthy amount of other engine-protecting additives to help quiet excessive valvetrain noise and fortify oil seals and gaskets.

Use of an oil stabilizer often results in a temporary increase of oil pressure in an engine with worn internals, helping it run longer.

5.         Engine Treatment

Although this type of product is added to the fresh oil after an oil change just like an oil treatment or oil stabilizer, it doesn’t actually treat the oil. It treats the internals of the engine itself.

As such, the benefits of this type of product do not just drain away at the next oil change interval. Since the actual internal surfaces of the engine were treated with this product, the treated surfaces maintain their improved condition through many oil changes.

Most of these types of engine treatment products deliver benefits for 12,000-30,000 miles or more.

Most often, an engine treatment product will involve some type of super-slippery additive (such as PTFE) that has been chemically engineered to bond with the internal friction surfaces of the engine, creating an extremely low-friction surface as compared to the bare untreated surfaces. This major reduction of internal engine friction reduces heat, wear and tear and stress on the engine. This results in a quieter, smoother, more-powerful and efficient engine for the customer. It will also increase the overall life of the engine dramatically.

Pioneered in the 1970s, this product has been used by major trucking companies around the world for hundreds of millions of miles for many, many years — all for a simple reason: It works!

6.         Fuel System Treatment

Like an engine treatment, a fuel system treatment does not treat the fuel like a typical fuel additive does. Instead, it treats the entire fuel system itself.

Fuel system treatments are a relatively new emergence in the additive field, and not every additive manufacturer or vendor sells such a product. However, they are the cutting-edge of chemical additive technology, and they are here to stay.

Sophisticated and meticulously balanced and blended chemicals are designed to treat the internal surfaces of an entire fuel system, from the gas tank to the engine cylinder — basically everywhere fuel flows.

Complimentary techniques through the additive’s multiple functions combine to create a smoother and easier flow of fuel from the gas tank to the cylinder, an increase in the fuel’s volatility, which increases combustion efficiency and a cleaner-burning situation that helps to keep the engine’s cylinders, pistons and valves free from excessive carbon buildup.

An increase in fuel mileage is typically in the 5-10 percent range, but many customers have had much higher results.

The time-released feature of this additive keeps it effective through many tanks of fuel, typically 6,000-10,000 miles.

This additive literally pays for itself after two tanks of gas in the form of increased fuel savings, in most cases.

7.         Two-part (or three-part) Fuel System and Induction System Cleaning

This is the one service that requires a little bit more training and must be administered by a trained employee. Improper application could cause damage to a customer’s engine. However, once trained, it is a very simple procedure.

Gasoline is made predominantly from carbon, as is everything on Earth. Burning gasoline in an internal combustion engine leaves carbon deposits behind — there is nothing that can be done to totally eliminate that.

New engine technology has tackled this carbon buildup issue, but it is a never ending problem, especially with the newer gasoline direct injection engines (GDI). Carbon deposits create hot, rough-running engines, poor fuel economy and shortened engine life.

This service typically consists of a powerful, bi-stage fuel additive inserted into the fuel tank, along with a specialized carbon-eating chemical introduced into the fast-idling engine’s vacuum feed. This carbon-eating chemical is administered into the running engine with a special tool that aerates and delivers the precise amount of cleaner into the engine’s cylinders, eating away at carbon buildup on the faces and seats of intake valves, as well as the tops of pistons, ring-land grooves and cylinder walls.

Some of these products include a third component: an oil treatment to keep the freshly-cleaned cylinders clean or possibly an intake/throttle-body cleaner.  The results are a cleaner, smoother running engine that provides better performance, increased fuel economy and a reduction in harmful emissions.

In states that require an emission certification test, this service is quite often the difference between an easy pass or an expensive fail. Any customer whose registration may be expiring soon will probably have to get an emissions test — making this an obvious and excellent recommendation while in your shop.

In the new GDI engines, the carbon problem is many, many times more severe, making the service even more necessary.

The leading chemical vendors are now introducing specialized fuel system cleaning additives designed very specifically for GDI engines and their special needs. Contact your additive vendor. The better manufacturers are always happy to visit your facility for some personal, one-on-one training for you and your crew. They will show you exactly how their products work and things to watch out for. They might even supply the pizza, wings and drinks!

Add up some extra profits by focusing on additives. As always, make it happen. See ya’ next month! 

Kit Sullivan

Kit Sullivan has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of the quick-lube arena, which have made him one of the most respected and sought-after experts in the areas of customer service, operations and sales. Sullivan's colorful and unique perspective on all aspects of daily lube shop activities have made him a favorite speaker and consultant with many lube shop owners and operators from around the country, as well as many of the industry's top vendors. Sullivan is available for consultation and speaking engagements and will show you how to "Make It Happen" for your business. Sullivan can be reached at: quicklubekit@aol.com