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How to explain the high cost of diesel maintenance to customers

Monday, October 1, 2018 - 06:00
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Not terribly long ago, diesel vehicles were cheaper to run and maintain than their gasoline-powered equivalents – but that’s not always true anymore.

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Thanks to the rising costs of (decent) diesel fuel and the high cost of (decent) diesel-specific replacement parts and fluids, modern diesel vehicles can actually end up being quite a bit more expensive to maintain than similar gasoline-powered vehicles. Ouch! And that’s without factoring in the costs of mistakes like putting diesel emission fluid (DEF) into the wrong tank or taking the Internet’s advice and putting crazy stuff into the fuel – just the cost of regular maintenance alone can be financially painful.

Maintaining a modern diesel vehicle can be very costly, but it needs to be done.

And the fact is, not spending the money to look after a diesel vehicle properly will almost certainly be much more expensive than paying for the high cost of diesel maintenance in the first place – but that’s not something most customers want to hear and usually not something that’s pleasant to explain.

In reality, it may take a few different approaches to explain the importance of regular maintenance to your diesel customer and to convince them that it’s a worthwhile expense.

Because it needs to be done.

However, if your customer gets upset or outraged at how much quality maintenance work on diesel vehicles costs, here are a few lessons, from experience, that may help convince them that it’s easier and cheaper to pay now rather than pay later. Because one way or another, they will indeed pay – it’s just how much and when.

Surprising reasons why maintenance is so critical
Along with the obvious reasons for properly and responsibly maintaining a diesel vehicle – such as keeping the vehicle running reliably and efficiently, and keeping the air we breathe nice and clean – there are a few other reasons to take good care of these units that may not seem obvious to your customer at first and which may help convince them that paying for maintenance is a wise investment.

For example, for some reason it seems to take especially long for special-order or back-ordered parts to arrive for diesel vehicles in particular – which means breaking down is best avoided if at all possible because it may take way longer than expected for the correct parts to arrive (the wrong parts are usually readily available – go figure).

I remember recently waiting over six months for a diesel exhaust system (with the emission reduction system included) to arrive for a newer Ford 4x4 F-550 truck and no amount of begging or pleading could get the parts to arrive any sooner. And worse, even though the exhaust system needed replacement because it was damaged when the customer ran over a rock (in other words, it was completely the customer’s fault) the customer wasn’t happy at all losing the truck for that long and it was tough to explain, repeatedly, that we were doing our best and we wanted the vehicle fixed and running just as much as they did (even more, actually).

Scrolling through the information settings on this Ford F-550 shows the diesel emission system monitors.

In other words, the reality for modern diesel vehicles is that if they break down they may be waiting for parts much longer than their gasoline counterparts would – so preventing problems before they occur is wise, indeed.

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