Start a Conversation about Tires

By Ted Ings, Executive Director

Every vehicle has them. Those black and round rubber rings are mounted on every rim that rolls out the dealership’s doors. And, in more than 87 percent of cases, it’s the last time the dealership will sell tires to that customer, at least for that car.

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A study by AutoLoop reveals that tire sales by franchised dealerships continue to decline, down half a point to 12.4 percent. It means for every tire shopper out there, only one in eight will visit a franchised dealership to buy their tires!

That might not seem like much of a problem to most service managers and dealer principals. After all, there’s very little profit margin in tires, and labor rates are slashed just to compete with the aftermarket shops. It’s easier to focus on areas where there’s more money to be made.


And therein lies the bigger problem. Tires sales aren’t the be-all end-all.

They might barely make a profit. But they’re an opening to sell additional services and repairs and establish a relationship with that customer!

Get Eyes on the Rest

Behind the tire sales – literally – lies a goldmine. So many dealers overlook how necessary it is to just get a car on a hoist and pull the wheels off. Tire sales is an opportunity to do just that.

Once you have the wheels off, the technician can inspect the brakes. The suspension can be evaluated and the play in ball joints measured. Wheel hubs can be checked, and the undercarriage inspected for leaks. What may start out as a ‘loss leader’ results in hundreds or thousands of dollars in additional repairs. The real money is in the add-ons, the upsells, and the future business.

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Tire Sales: Where Rubber Meets the Road

Most importantly, the service department gets an opportunity to develop a relationship with the customer. Offer exceptional service for a product that doesn’t make the big bucks and you’ll see that customer return for your impeccable service in the future. Nearly $1,200 in maintenance and repairs per vehicle annually are at stake.


So, get to it. Slash your tire prices. Offer free repairs on tires you sell. Provide tire protection like the aftermarket companies do. Get competitive in tire sales and put more rubber on the road.