How many times have you heard that lately? Probably enough to last you until next year. But it should be the last thing you want your customers to experience because of a dead battery. There is nothing worse than coming out of the mall to a car that won’t turn over. Worse yet is that there is a Sears at the end of the mall that will get that battery sale instead of you. By the way, your customer will probably not come back to you for any more services because you let them down by not checking their battery the last time they were in your shop for service.
So, let’s talk batteries.
The average battery life has shortened because today’s vehicles require more energy demands than ever before. Even the least expensive cars have power options as standard equipment; power windows, power locks, etc. And the high-end vehicles have their sunroofs, navigation systems, heated seats and much more. Think about this; only 30% of batteries sold today reach the 48 month mark. That means any vehicle visiting your service department that is a 2008 or older is a prime candidate for a new battery. Watch for these opportunities.
Now, let’s talk terminology.
CCA is Cold Cranking Amps. CCA is the measurement of the number of amps a battery can deliver at zero degrees F for 30 seconds and not drop below 7.2 volts. This is important for starting, especially in cold weather. The higher the CCA, the better starting performance in cold weather. When selling a battery to a customer, always check the CCA rating on the battery you are replacing. You want to make sure you are selling a battery with plenty of CCA.
RC is the Reserve Capacity in a battery. It is an important rating that tells you the number of minutes a fully charged battery at 80 degrees F will discharge 25 amps until the battery drops below 10.5 volts.
Yes, all batteries were not born yesterday. Most batteries have a date code that shows when they were manufactured. Date codes are a letter and number combination. “A” means the battery was manufactured in January, and so on. The number next to the letter indicates the year. Therefore, a code of E9 would indicate a battery manufactured in May of 2009.
Do you know how much a simple jump start cost? A simple jump start means a vehicle, usually not a tow truck, is dispatched to your dead vehicle and quickly connects either jumper cables or a jump box to the battery. You wait 30 seconds and your vehicle starts. Your hood is closed and the operator hands you a bill for about $50.00. The whole process took 1-2 minutes.
What are you doing to make sure your customers are not stranded in the cold with a dead battery? The first step, and the most obvious, is to test every battery that comes through your service department. That may not be possible, and even may not be necessary. A new vehicle in for the first time with only a few thousand miles may not require a test. But that 3 year old vehicle next in line will. There are a number of battery testers available. The best ones for the service drive are hand held portable units with a printer. Why the printer? Because a written document that can be presented to your customer is very impactful. Most of these printer type battery testers print out the state of charge and the state of health. These two statuses are very different. You can have a fully charged battery that has only 30% health. The health of the battery is the most important issue. The lower the health, the better chances the battery will fail. One of our consultants had this happen. His battery was tested by his dealership as “bad”. He thought sense the car was starting fine he didn’t need a new battery. Well, a month later he was stranded with a dead battery. Don’t let this happen to your customers.
Once you have tested the customer’s battery and you have determined it needs replacing, it’s time to sell the customer a new battery. Explain to the customer why he or she needs a new battery. Show them the printout from the tester. Explain the readings to the customer. Utilize your knowledge of batteries to explain CCA and RC. Then present the customer his or her options. Customers need to be given a choice when buying a battery. Present the “Best” battery first, and then give the customer a “Good” or “Better” alternative (unless, of course, they say yes to the “Best” right away). Batteries are an easy sell, but they are also one of the key times a customer will defect and go someplace else for service. Don’t let that happen to you. Retain your customer at your dealership, and always keep them satisfied.
Don’t let the weather outside be frightful!
Test and sell batteries!!