Aftermarket tire and repair shops could gain in EV shift

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So far, few if any widespread automotive service retailers have tried to woo the business of electric vehicle owners. But recent survey results suggest that some of them might do better by focusing on EV-specific needs soon. 

The results come from survey giant J.D. Power, via its U.S. Aftermarket Service Index Study, out last week. It found that satisfaction with aftermarket chains that do full-service maintenance, repair, and tire service has taken a nosedive. 

Power bases ratings on ease of scheduling, courtesy, performance, the facility, time to complete service, and the quality of the work.

Goodyear 90% sustainable tire

Goodyear 90% sustainable tire

There is of course no motor oil to change on EVs. But Power sees that these shops could gain a lot focusing on tires. It says tire maintenance, repair, and replacement are all done at much higher rates for EVs versus for internal combustion models. Tire repair shows the greatest difference, at 41% for EVs, vs. 12% for other models. Tire maintenance (rotation, for instance) is at 49% vs. 28% and tire replacement at 34% vs. 21%, for ICE vs. other models respectively. 

That all points to a largely untapped business opportunity—one that could also help make EV ownership easier and give dealerships some healthy competition. 

BMW X5 xDrive45e with FSC-certified Pirelli P-Zero tires

BMW X5 xDrive45e with FSC-certified Pirelli P-Zero tires

“Aftermarket service providers can benefit from an increase in tire replacement and repair business as automakers offer more EVs,” said Leonard Martin, Power’s director of automotive retail. 

At present, the top-rated chains for such service include Christian Brothers for full service and maintenance. Goodyear Auto Service, Discount Tire, Jiffy Lube, Les Schwab, and Midas top the charts for tire replacement, followed by Costco. Ratings are based on 11,194 responses from vehicle owners in January through March 2023 with service done in the previous 12 months. 

There’s greater awareness about the importance of tires in EV range and efficiency, and California is considering efficiency standards for replacement tires. And as one study reported by SAE International noted last year, fluctuations in tire pressure can cost EVs more efficiency. So as automakers look at ways to cut margins amid an impending EV price war, tires are likely to keep their grip as something very important.  

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