With demand set to spike in the weeks ahead, Colin Cottrell, Marketing and Central Operations Director at LKQ Euro Car Parts, has outlined the opportunity for garages and explains how to prepare.
Colin said: “Right now, we’re heading into something of a perfect storm on the air conditioning front. Air con systems are comprised of an intricate network of pressure valves, and there is a natural, gradual dispersal of gas throughout their lifecycles, resulting in a loss of around five per cent capacity each year. But prolonged periods of non-use can cause air conditioning seals to weaken, speeding up this process.
“Eventually, this means the system can no longer filter air with maximum efficiency, causing moisture to build up in the filters. This is particularly problematic at this time of year, with the filters then more likely to attract pollen, spores and bacteria. And properly functioning air con isn’t just critical for comfort in the cabin; it’s important for overall vehicle health and helps prevent the engine or battery from overheating.
“This means that as well as serving those customers that come to your garage with a specific air con-related issue, there is a big opportunity to upsell air con checks as part of other service tasks or repairs. Regassing, for example, is a great opportunity to drive additional revenue as part of a standard service. Currently, no manufacturer mandates that air conditioning forms part of a regular vehicle service, but being able to explain to drivers why it’s important to get their system checked means they’ll most likely to be happy to go for it.
“It’s often the case that drivers won’t have noticed a drop-off in the performance of their air conditioning – as long as it blows cold air, they’ll assume it’s working. But a system refresh at their local garage can still make a big difference to air quality and temperature control in the cabin, ensuring customers leave your workshop happy, and inclined to come back again next time.”
LKQ Euro Car Parts has 12 full-time Autoclimate engineers on-hand to support customers working in independent garages, franchises, bodyshops and fast-fits throughout the UK. Autoclimate is the largest automotive air con supplier in the UK, with the team carrying out more than 8,000 service and repair activities in an average year, for more than 14,000 customers – and providing free, full-service technical support.
Colin added: “We’re also encouraging technicians to complete dedicated refrigerant handling qualification courses via our AutoEducation Academy. While most air con systems work in a similar way, it’s important to understand the differences between the various refrigerant products they’ll be handling, and to know how to service these systems safely and effectively.”