Americans are taking more road trips, but their tires are expired
Over the Christmas holidays in 2020, AAA had estimated that around 84.5 million Americans planned to travel. Although those figures were down nearly 20% from the previous year, it demonstrates the affinity for travel, especially in the midst of a pandemic. The Hankook Tire Gauge Index reports that nearly three-quarters planned to forego the flight, opting instead to reach their destination by car.
There’s an inherent risk for road trippers, however, that often makes it less safe to drive than to fly for travel. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research found that of the 11,500 passenger vehicles they inspected, almost half had at least one tire only 50% tread remaining. An additional 10% had at least one tire that was bald.
While half tread may not seem all that bad, knowing that one in every ten vehicles has a bald tire should be disconcerting. These drivers could be operating a vehicle that could fail or cause them to lose control in slippery conditions. It’s a danger to not only the driver and their occupants, but to other motorists and bystanders as well.
It’s an identifiable threat, but what about tires that are expired?
Expired tires are the unseen enemy
Virtually no car owner is aware that their tires have an expiration date. Many service shop and dealership staff don’t know about expiry dates either and knowing how to locate the date and read it is even more rare.
Tire manufacturers stamp date codes on tires because their expected life is just six years. The tire code contains four digits that indicate the week and the year the tire was manufactured. When that date rolls around, tires are due to be replaced no matter how much tread remains.
But with no one to let drivers know the time is up on their tires, and with car owners unaware that their tires could be dangerous, these expired tires add to the sobering statistics: in 2017, 738 road deaths occurred due to tire failures.
What to expect from expired tires
Expired tires can’t be that bad… can they? The truth is that a tire can only be expected to maintain its integrity for six years, adjusted down from ten years more than a decade ago. When a tire reaches its date of expiration, the potential for safety-related problems increases. Those issues can include:
With the structural integrity compromised due to age, a tire that looks perfectly fine could actually be the point of failure that cause an accident from a blowout.
Why aren’t service personnel checking tire expiration?
Unfortunately, some service facilities either aren’t advising car owners about expired tires or the message isn’t getting through. It can be for a variety of reasons, namely trust and time.
A service walkaround is a time-consuming process that service advisors often struggle to fit into vehicle check-ins. When it happens, tire tread depth and wear are inspected but the expiry is almost never checked. It comes down to a lack of time, especially during the bustling morning rush.
And despite the research-based data surrounding tire expiration dates, it often comes down to a lack of trust in the service drive. Should a service advisor indicate that a car needs new tires because they’re expired, it’s easy for customers to decline as an ‘upsell’, not a required service.
How UVeye helps promote safety and attract tire sales
How do you communicate authoritatively to car owners that expired tires are a true concern that puts safety in peril? UVeye’s automated tire inspection technology offers the solution in a way that builds trust without adding time to the check-in process.
An aid to building trust
A Google search of “Do customer trust service advisors?” reveals page after page that says, overwhelmingly, that the average customer does not. Upselling unnecessary services tends to be a common theme, and it’s a tough one to overcome in a position based on selling service. The path of least resistance to the sale is to eliminate distrust by injecting authoritative, unquestionable data.
UVeye tire inspections do just that. When each tire is checked by the high-speed cameras and the AI-powered software identifies the expiry date on the tire, the customer receives an accurate report and can make a decision that hasn’t been influenced by someone they don’t quite trust yet. For subsequent visits, it’s likely they’ll be more apt to follow the advice of their advisor.
Automation for streamlined check-in
With little time to spend with each customer during check-in, adding a tire expiry check to a walkaround is unlikely to get long-term buy-in from service advisors. But when the inspection process is automated by UVeye, appointment check-ins allow more time for interaction with the customer before they hurry away. It also provides service personnel the time to focus on other tasks like ensuring maintenance is up to date and checking for recalls.
Use cases for Automatic Inspection:
Time to Make the Sale
The service department is about ensuring customer satisfaction with their ownership experience while generating revenue for the store. A UVeye tire inspection is the perfect complement for that. The tire inspection is performed automatically with immediate results, allowing the service advisor time to recommend tire replacement and provide an estimate in a timely manner, hopefully capturing the sale on the same day.
As car owners travel more, their tires are a hidden safety concern that can be brought to light while building trust and selling more services. UVeye’s automated inspection technology provides transparent, authoritative results that keep motorists safer by identifying concerns with their tires.