Make Sure You Master This Skill

by Lauren Henderson

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You may be a master tech, master of sales or master service writer but have you mastered the art of making your customer feel like you genuinely care?

The relationship you build with your customers is one of the defining factors setting you apart from the competition. Hopefully, it’s setting you apart in a good way. It’s important you do a good job under the hood but remember who’s handing over the payment.

Try changing your daily customer dialogue to balance technical questions with observant ones. It naturally encourages conversation and will leave customers feeling good about the job you did. Here’s an example dialogue:

1.   Anything new you’ve noticed about the way your car is driving?

2. Have any exciting plans for the rest of the day?

3. What’s your daily commute like?

4. So you must be a fan of XYZ TEAM? What did you think about their last game?

5. We’ve got you all set. Have any questions? Bring your car back in XYZ months/miles and please don’t hesitate to call us for anything you need in the meantime.

A balanced conversation leaves the customer feeling like you took care of them and genuinely cared about them. Chances are they won’t think twice about where they take their car for its next oil change.

Have any tips for building customer relationships and keeping returning customers in your bays? Comment below.

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The Ingredients Behind Fuel System Maintenance Fluids


More than likely you’ve had a conversation with a customer about fuel system maintenance, fuel additives or the importance of using the right fuel for his car. You’ve probably been asked how you know what a particular car needs and if fuel additives are effective. In short, the answer is, it depends on what’s in them.

Even high-quality fuel creates and leaves behind carbon deposits during combustion. Over time, those deposits can build up on engine parts and lower a vehicle’s overall performance and fuel economy. The only way to restore performance is to remove the deposits.

Not every fuel additive is the same; however, they all use cleaning agents. The most commonly used detergents are, polyisobutene (PIB), polyisobutylene amine (PIBA) and polyetheramine (PEA).

PIB is typically used in gas treatments and fuel injector/carb cleaners. If used in high enough doses, it can prevent new carbon deposits from forming, but it’s not powerful enough to remove existing deposits.

PIBA is usually used in fuel injector cleaners. Unlike PIB, PIBA can remove some existing deposits and has a longer interval between applications. It isn’t durable enough to survive in the combustion chamber.

PEA is stable enough to be able to remove carbon deposits in the high heat, making it a good choice for cleaning cylinder heads or direct injectors.


Want to learn more about the science behind the ingredients of quality fuel system maintenance fluids? Visit:

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Four Things We Can Learn From World Cup Champions

by Lauren Henderson


  1. Perfect your craft

If you don’t know who Abby Wambach is, where have you been? She’s a forward and team captain on the Women’s National Team and while a natural born athlete, Wambach says she’s had to push herself to the level she’s at. She didn’t win the world eating junk food and sitting on the couch. You won’t have increased sales without improving your skills under the hood. Want to be elite in this business? Train hard.

  1. No excuses

Christie Rampone is 40 years old, a mom of two and just won a World Cup for the U.S. Put your excuses away. You’re never too old, too busy or too tired for things you really want to do.

  1. Teamwork wins championships

Carli Lloyd’s hat trick in the first-half of the history making game on Sunday evening was no doubt a showstopper but there was a defender out on the field doing her part too. St. Louis, Missouri native and defender, Becky Sauerbrunn has been called one of the most underrated players on the team but against Japan she played a full 90 minutes and won a World Cup. That’s not underrated, that’s teamwork and teamwork will get you on top and keep you there — in sports and business.

  1. Respect your opponent

Right after their 5-2 win against Japan, midfielder, Megan Rapinoe said, “[It feels] so good. To be honest I think it’s less about beating them — they’re such a class side. I spoke with a few of them I played with after and they’re nothing but gracious — and more about achieving our own goal.” Learn from your competition, see what they do well, what they don’t, network and achieve your own goals!

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What Coffee Teaches Us About Service

by Lauren Henderson

image1[1]I intentionally skipped a step getting ready this morning. Don’t worry it wasn’t anything critical like deodorant or brushing my teeth, I just left my hair a little undone. Why did I sacrifice beauty for an extra five minutes? That’s easy, an extra five meant I would have time to stop by my favorite local coffee stand on the way to work.

Now, this coffee shop’s service is a little slower than your average Starbucks drive-thru and their prices are considerably higher than McDonalds and my local Chism Travel Center but their service and their coffee — oh their coffee — is markedly better than both.

As I pulled behind three other vehicles, I sorted through emails, watched the clock and got my cash ready. A few minutes later, I inched forward, rolled down my window and hastily responded to the employee waiting at the window, “One venti, nonfat latte, one pump vanilla, please,” I said. The employee grabbed an oversized cup — required by only the most committed coffee drinkers — and artfully started making my morning brew.

While waiting, I thought to myself, “Isn’t it funny how even when not at Starbucks their cup sizes are still the standard?” I had ordered a “venti” drink and even though this coffee stand’s cups were clearly marked “small, medium and large” on the menu, the employee knew what I meant. Without hesitation, he’d grabbed the right cup. Somewhere along the lines, whether they were my favorite coffee shop or not, Starbucks had set the standard.

Who is setting the service standards in the quick lube industry? Is it you? Even if you’re not the biggest chain, look and see what others are getting right, what they can improve on and then do it better! That’s what coffee can teach us about oil changes. Now to make my way through this giant cup of joe! (Just kidding, I already finished it!)

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Oil Change Veterans Finish Day Three Strong in Amarillo, Texas

by Lauren Henderson


Joe Perkins and Larry Read cross the finish line for day three in Read’s 1939 Buick.

Larry Read, Joe Perkins and Scotti Lee know their way around cars. Yesterday in Amarillo, Texas they proved it again as “Blue 92″ crossed the finish line and completed day three of The Great Race in position No. 43 out of 109 teams.

The third leg of The Great Race began in Oklahoma City where teams spent the night after finishing day two. They continued to follow historic Route 66 west to Elk City, Oklahoma where they stopped for lunch before heading into the farm country of Texas. Racers report the lonely farm roads offered great rallying conditions but were a challenge.

Read spent the day navigating, Perkins drove and Lee pulled into Amarillo with the parts truck, having already coordinated a place for the team to be able to lift the 1939 Buick and change the fluids.


Scotti Lee, Joe Perkins and Larry Read (left to right) in Amarillo, Texas after day three on their Great Race adventure.

Today, the team will stop in Tucumcari, New Mexico for lunch before heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico to finish day four. If you can catch The Great Race on their way to the finish line in Santa Monica, California I highly suggest doing so. They’ll also be making stops in Albuquerque and Gallup, New Mexico,  Winslow, Flagstaff, Kingman and Lake Havasu City, Arizona, Twentynine Palms and San Bernadino, California.


Read’s 1939 Buick cruises down historic Route 66.

The cars are incredible and you may never get a chance to see automotive history this way again. Goodluck and safe travels Team No. 92! Here are some more moments from day three:150622_GR_0300150622_GR_0335150622_GR_0417IMG_4279IMG_4282IMG_4285IMG_4299

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10 Reasons We Love the Automotive Maintenance Business

by Lauren HendersonDSC01758We get it, customers can be rude, competition is brutal and automotive technology is becoming increasingly complicated. Even still, gear heads like us can’t walk away from the service bays because the satisfaction and reward we find in our jobs far outweigh a grouchy customer here and there. Here are our top 10 reasons why the fast lube industry makes our hearts race:

1. Every customer is a new opportunity to “hit it out of the park.”

2. Working on cars is a lost art and we’re experts on it!

3. We get cars, cars get us.

4. Getting dirty is more fun than staying clean.

5. We like a challenge, especially one we have to solve FAST!

6. We can still get more customers in, professionally serviced and on their way faster than the dealerships.

7. What’s more fun than hearing an engine roar? Starting one that wasn’t purring before we fixed it.

8. Have a question? Bet we can find somebody with the answer.

9. We get to make a lot of customers’ days — everyday.

10. We can grow with our careers.

Why do you love your job in the automotive maintenance industry?

Interested in finding an automotive service job? Check out our classifieds for regularly updated employment opportunities.

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Industry Pioneers Race From Kirkwood, Missouri to Santa Monica, California in a 1939 Buick

by Lauren Hendersongreat_race_2015

Industry pioneers and NOLN contributors, Larry Read and Scotti Lee are going on a new kind of adventure in exactly 11 days. The duo along with Read’s buddy, Joe Perkins who restores cars and is also a mechanic and 130 other antique car teams will trek along old Route 66 in a 1939 Buick from Kirkwood, Missouri to Santa Monica, California. The nine-day road rally is called The Great Race and tests driver/navigator teams’ ability to follow instructions and the car and teams’ ability to make it on a cross-country trip.

Read's 1939 Buick that will be making the trek on old Route 66. The team has nicknamed it

Read’s 1939 Buick that will be making the trek on old Route 66. The team has nicknamed it “Blue 92.”

Read, Lee and Perkins will go through all kinds of terrain and make drastic altitude drops along the way. Perkins is the driver, and Read is the navigator. The rules state they can’t have access to cellular or GPS devices so they’ll be relying on Read’s map skills.

Lee is in charge of driving the chase vehicle. He will follow a different route than Read and Perkins. The chase vehicle will carry extra parts and supplies should the 1939 Buick break down along the way.

“It’s a process called ride, repair, repeat,” Read said. “The chase vehicle can only meet up with us at night where we spend the night. If we break down before we get there, there’s a sweep vehicle that will pick us up and take us in. Once we arrive at the rest spot, we start working on the car all night to get ready to go in the morning. We will also be counting on our connections in the quick lube industry. If our car needs something we plan on calling on our quick lube friends in the towns along the route.”

We plan on checking in with Team “Blue92″ (the name of the Buick they’re driving) throughout the race and will be reporting how they fair. Read said out of the 130 cars that start the race, only 90-95 will finish.

To read more about The Great Race including specific rules, sponsors, checkpoints and prizes visit their website:

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All Motor Oil Must Provide 10,000 Miles of Safe Lubrication, SB 778

by Lauren HendersonProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetMany say California tends to be the leader when it comes to what the rest of the country is going to do. Whether that’s true or not, the recent California Senate Bill (SB 778), introduced by California Senator Allen on February 27, 2015 is one to pay close attention to.

“If it becomes law, as currently written, this bill will require all passenger car motor oil sold in California to be certified by the oil manufacturer to achieve a minimum useful life of 10,000 miles when used in accordance with the automobile manufacturer’s recommendations, and to meet current automotive industry standards. The bill now goes to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. If it is approved and becomes law, it will require all automotive oil sold in the state of California to provide 10,000 miles of safe lubrication by 2018.  That’s close to doubling oil change intervals. Violation of these provisions would be a crime on and after January 1, 2018,” wrote Thomas Glenn in a recent newsletter for the Petroleum Quality Institute of America (PQIA).

Of course, just because a bill is presented doesn’t mean it becomes a law. Lots of bills never make it through. However, it’s important to know, Glenn says that on May 1, 2015, the California Senate Committee approved this bill. It’s also important to note that according to our research, customers are only driving an average of 152 miles more than they were in 1999 (Click here for more on that.) So even if oil drains were to double in 2018, would customers really go that long between oil changes?

To read the full PQIA article including more about the bill and the unintended consequences of it click here:

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What You Need to Know About the 2015 Fast Lube Operator Survey and Oil Change-Plus Survey

by Tammy Neal

This year we’re shaking things up. We want to make sure all of our readers know what’s going own and are familiar with the 2015 Fast Lube Operator and Oil Change-Plus surveys. In the past, these survey results have been available to everyone in the September and November magazines. This year, unless you complete the 2015 Operator Survey (here) or are a premium subscriber (here), you won’t receive the survey results.

Here’s who, where, when, why and what you need to know:

What: The Fast Lube Operator Survey results are usually published in the September issue. In 2014, the Oil-Change Plus Survey results were published in the November issue. However, in 2015 only operators who complete the 2015 survey or are premium subscribers will receive the survey results.

Who: Any owner, operator or manager of a preventative maintenance or automotive service/repair facility should complete the survey.

Where: A 2015 survey questionnaire was polybagged with the May issue of NOLN for you to complete and return to us. If you’d like to complete the survey online you can do so at: If you misplaced the printed version from your May issue, call us at 800.796.2577 and we’ll get a new one sent to you.

When: The completed surveys are due back to us by Friday, June 26, 2015, so we have time to tabulate the results.

Why: If you want to be sure you can compare the statistics of the industry with those of your business, please be sure to either complete the survey or purchase a premium subscription. If you have a username and password that you use to access our special subscriber-only features on the website, then you do, in fact have a premium subscription. However, just because you’re receiving the printed issue of NOLN for many years, we can neither guarantee you have a premium subscription nor can we guarantee you’ll receive the 2015 Fast Lube Operator or Oil Change-Plus survey results. If you’d like to inquire about the status of your subscription call Sheila at 800.796.2577 ext. 205.

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Gentleman Start Your Engines

by Lauren Henderson

On April 10, 2015, Jason Smith, vice president of operations of Express Lube in San Antonio, TX  had the honor of being the grand marshal at The 2015 O’Reilly 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series.

In addition to saying, “Drivers start your engines,” Smith got to attend the drivers’ meeting and shake all the drivers’ hands after the driver introductions.


Smith says being the grand marshal of a big race wasn’t on his bucket list before but it was a fun opportunity and he’s glad he had the opportunity.


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