Educating motorists on wiper blades maintenance opens up business opportunities.
With modern automobiles being equipped with the fanciest safety mechanisms, motorists often ignore some of the most basic and vital safety features—such as wiper blades.
“Most consumers replace their wiper blades every two to three years, which is typically when they fail,” says Thu Teesdale, Product Marketing Manager for Bosch.
Most manufacturers recommend inspecting wiper blades every six months for wear.
“People will drive their vehicle with a blade that is sludging a little bit and aligned wrong for months before they change it. It is a relatively inexpensive part, and replacing it gives instant gratification,” explains Anthony Salvati from Berco Automotive Supply.
The demand for wiper blades predictably goes up with the wet seasons. “We have our best wiper sales when it is pouring rain or snowing,” remarks Allan Wood, Ideal Supply Orangeville. Spring also sees a surge in demand for wiper blades. According to Salvati, since the roads are very dirty in spring, drivers tend to go through a lot of washer fluid. Since the blades are being used more, any issues with them become more noticeable. It is easier to sell replacement blades during this time.
How can jobbers help?
Jobbers and their customers can join forces to make driving safe through better visibility for the end users—the motorists. Educating motorists regarding the advantages of replacing wiper blades is a simple step they can take. “Jobbers can remind customers about wiper blade replacement during other routine vehicle maintenance appointments and especially before a storm, weather event or road trip,” suggests Teesdale.
There is a downside to this approach, according to Salvati. “The only thing we can do is to continue to recommend that they need to keep the maintenance up on their wiper blades. Unfortunately, this is viewed as a sale tactic. It is not always true.”
What can jobbers do?
A good way to make motorists see the big picture is to offer different types of wiper blades. They can then make a choice based on their own budgets. “Taking the time to explain the differences between the types of blades is helpful. They all look very similar, but their fit and functions vary,” says Wood. He takes the time to showcase the available options to his customers, the service providers, and pass on the information obtained from the sales representatives of his supplier. Although sampling the blades to end users could help demonstrate their advantages, it is not worth losing out on the business opportunities.
Teesdale recommends that jobbers and service providers educate the customers on the current technology behind all-season beam wiper blades. “By design, beam blades are not affected by snow and ice buildup. The enclosed tension springs help keep the blade flexible and effective in wintry conditions,” she states.
A wiper blade begins deteriorating from the day it is installed. Since it is difficult to notice, motorists follow the “don’t fix what is not broken” rule. Would having government involvement help? Salvati certainly believes so. “We should have some sort of education package where not just the jobbers but also the manufacturers talk and put more focus on wiper blades. Not that I am asking the government to get involved, but something backed by the government will always add more weight to it as well,” he says.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to education (shy of outright legislation from the government) to change wiper blades at specific intervals. “It is frustrating. You know they are bad. But I can’t spend other people’s money,” remarks Wood.