Promoting a dealership's service department to used-car customers increases back-shop business, says Michael Baker of the Bob Baker Automotive Group in the San Diego region.

“We all do it with our new-car customers, but few of us talk about doing it with the people who buy used cars,” he says.

Baker admits it is something he hadn't considered until an audit of the dealership group revealed that its service penetration with used-car customers was “embarrassingly low,” he says.

“There really is no reason not to go after them,” Baker says. “We have huge banks of these customers in our dealer management systems.”

He thinks many dealers do not want fussy used-car customers bringing their vehicles back for immediate service because those repair orders tend to be for minor things, such as a broken cigarette lighter, that aren't worth the trouble.

He says the longer a person owns a vehicle, the more likely he or she will stop fussing and start focusing on more significant service work.

“Instead of sending out service reminders the first 90 days, wait for the first 120 days,” Baker suggests.