Like humans, a vehicle needs a breath of fresh air once in a while to keep on ticking. To help keep your customers vehicles breathing easily and operating properly think about offering a breathe easy add-on package.

Every vehicle has several filters that need to be changed periodically, including the air filter and, on most new vehicles, the cabin air filter. According to experts, current data shows that more than 100 million vehicles in operation in the U.S. have been factory-equipped with cabin air filters, and this trend is expected to grow. Given, this statistic and the fact that every car that rolls into your bays has an air filter the potential customer base for this add-on package is tremendous.

As a guideline, cabin air filters should be changed every 12 months or every 12,000 to 18,000 miles, the experts at Purolator recommend. But because most motorists won’t remember the last time it was changed, the best practice is to pull the cabin filter and show it to the customer.  You never know what you’ll find we recently saw a photo from a local shop that pulled a cabin air filter and found a decaying mouse in it!

You can include any service that helps your customers or their cars breathe easy in your breathe easy add-on package. Examples include air filters, cabin air filters, AC odor removal, air fresheners and more, but for our purposes we’re going to stick with the first two. Air filter replacement is one of the most popular add-on services in this industry.

According to the 2010 Fast Lube Operators Survey, essentially all fast lube operators offer this add-on, as has been the case for years. The air filter is one of the most crucial maintenance items on a vehicle. A damaged air filter that allows particulate matter into the engine is hazardous, as those tiny particles of dirt and other material can hasten engine wear and even cause premature engine failure.

A new study shows that a fresh air filter really doesn’t help boost fuel economy, but it does help increase acceleration, which may be important to some customers — especially those who frequently drive on freeways or in other situations that require rapid acceleration.

These filters are being factory-installed in more and more vehicles, and even vehicles that don’t come equipped with one from the factory usually have a compartment for aftermarket cabin air filters. “A cabin air filter is much like an air filter for your home HVAC system, but more important since the air we breathe inside a vehicle is more than six times as polluted as the air you breathe in your home,” said Dave Sholtis, vice president, Filtration Americas at Purolator. “Just as you use an air filter to control dust and allergens in the home, the cabin air filter has been designed by vehicle manufacturers to prevent dirt, pollen, soot, bacteria and other particulates from entering a vehicle’s interior while driving.” It is important to replace cabin air filters on a regular basis because a clogged filter can actually blow the dirt residing in it back into the interior of the vehicle, Sholtis said.