How Service Shops Can Capitalize on Road Trip Season

by | May 28, 2024 | Battery Tips, Servicing and Repairs | 0 comments

As summer approaches, road travel increases significantly. A recent survey by The Vacationer reported that as many as 82% of Americans plan to take a trip this year, and of those travelers, 3 in 4 plan to make it a road trip. Not only is there a marked increase in traffic on the roads, but those extra miles that drivers accumulate will mean more service visits will be necessary.

Preparation is key for road trips, and service shops play a significant role in ensuring motorists stay safe as they drive long miles over extended holidays and long weekend trips. Particularly as it relates to batteries and charging systems that account for the majority of breakdowns, there are strategies that shops can use to make the most this season.

The Role of Service Shops in Road Trip Preparation

Vehicle owners can perform routine inspections to make sure their cars are roadworthy for hundreds of miles of driving over a few days. But there are a few things that service shops, whether franchised dealerships or otherwise, can offer that owners can’t provide for themselves – at least, to the same degree.

First, there’s the time commitment that’s required to get the vehicle prepped. Checking the tires, checking the fluids, heading to the parts store to buy fluids, then back home to top them up. Checking the tire pressures, the brakes, inspecting for leaks, then – and not the least of it – is making sure the battery is good. Done properly, it’s going to take a vehicle owner a couple of hours to prep their car, and that’s time they could spend properly organizing and packing. And honestly, more often than not, the vehicle checkup doesn’t get done. Having a service shop do it saves time while getting it completed.

And when problems are found, they can be addressed on the spot. That saves the customer even more time rather than ordering parts, trying to find an evening without a commitment to get it fixed, and hoping they have everything to do it right.

Then, there’s the peace of mind. Having a professional give the owner the all-clear rather than hoping they’ve checked it well themselves can put them at ease for the duration of the trip.

However, customers aren’t always looking for a solution on their own. Here are foue strategies you can implement for road trip season to help capture more business and earn more revenue.

Strategy 1: Comprehensive Pre-Trip Inspections

Failing batteries remain the top reason for roadside assistance calls, but that’s far from the only issue that can occur on a road trip. There’s so much peace of mind that comes from having the whole vehicle looked over before venturing out with the family for the weekend.

Offer – and communicate – a comprehensive pre-trip inspection package that covers all the bases. It should cover battery health, brakes, tires, suspension, fluids, and even a scan for any codes that might be of concern.

With this strategy, newer technicians can perform the inspections quickly and thoroughly, and clean bills of health can be a revenue source with little time commitment and fast turnaround. Then any concerns that need to be passed onto a certified technician can be completed in a timely fashion.

Strategy 2: Drop-In Battery Tests

A dead battery on a road trip is incredibly annoying, time-consuming, and more expensive to deal with as an emergency than proactively. But it’s no secret that many shops are still booked several days – or weeks – in advance, making it tough for customers to get their battery tested, especially on short notice. You can help your customers ensure that their batteries are ready for the long haul in just a few minutes if your shop is equipped with the right technology.

When you have a battery testing process in place for any vehicle that enters the service drive, you’re already equipped to perform battery tests for drop-in customers. All that’s needed is to ensure vehicle owners know that it’s available at any time during business hours. Using testers like the MVT handheld battery and electrical system tester, they can be checked in and out within only a few minutes.

Strategy 3: On-the-Spot Replacements

Some customers might know that their battery is weak, while others might want to preventatively swap it for a new one after three years or so. Others might’ve just found out during their drop-in battery test that their battery has failed. You can capture more battery sales if you offer on-the-spot replacements with no appointment necessary.

You’ll need to team up with the parts department to ensure they’re able to expediently charge out and pick the battery from inventory. And common battery options might even be left in a secure area near the service drive or quick service lane. But when you can perform a replacement in the moment and show you value their time, you’re helping to prove to your customer that you’re the right place to service their vehicle not just for the quick stuff, but for larger repairs too.

Strategy 4: Reduce Appointment Loads Leading Up to Long Weekends

Any service advisor or service manager who’s been around for a few years knows you can count on an influx of last-minute calls for appointments or same-day services. And while it can be inconvenient for scheduling the shop, being available to deal with last-minute appointments can be exactly what it takes to prevent customers from finding another shop who will take them in – and potentially taking them away from you going forward.

Consider reducing your appointment load for the two or three days before a long weekend. The rush repairs and battery replacements can be accommodated, plus it gives breathing room for staff who might be taking an extra day for their weekend too. What’s great about this is that, should there be time that isn’t accounted for, internal repair orders can be completed, helping out the sales department before a busy weekend.


Although it’s not the norm in the industry, considering and accommodating pre-trip inspections, battery replacements, and last-minute work is a customer-focused plan. It’s not something you must do, but you’re likely to have several grateful customers because of it.