Oil change stickers are today’s standard practice for reminding car owners about routine maintenance on their vehicles. It’s a simple, unobtrusive cue to schedule their next service.

At best, though, the sticker only suggests a return date and mileage. The car owner is in complete control of when (and where) they return for service.

Some take the later of the two options – mileage or months – before returning for service. But, best practices suggest bringing a car in as soon as one of them is reached. For procrastinators who stretch the limits to the max before having a service performed, the sticker is all too often simply a way to calculate how long overdue they are for an oil change.

It’s hard to blame them though. The stickers are easy to look past: They don’t provide much from a motivational standpoint, and they do little to educate car owners about other maintenance that might be needed.

This means, despite the steadfast placement of a sticker post-oil change, it’s hard to predict if a customer will return – or when. In this article, we will discuss a few additional ways you can bring customers back to you once they leave your service department.

Going beyond the oil change sticker

As our world changes so have the options for tracking and reminding car owners of needed maintenance and repairs. New digital alternatives, which are better at sending the right message at the right time, are becoming readily available.

These options are much more effective in fostering customer retention and creating a sense of urgency that gets your customers back in your service department — not someone else’s — on time.

Here are a few options available to today’s dealerships:

1. Service Reminder Emails

One of the most popular tactics for reaching customers when service is due is to send an email. This is easy as long as you capture the necessary information and consent at their first visit.

With this option, you’ll be able to reach out at regular intervals and offer an easy way to schedule an appointment. Here’s a great service reminder email template you could use for your customers:

Dear [customer],
It’s time for your next oil change.


Current recommendations by [car manufacturer] suggest changing your vehicle’s oil every [X months]. Our records show that your last oil change and inspection visit was [date].


We recommend booking an appointment at your earliest convenience by clicking here.


[service manager]

Be wary, though. Research suggests that more than 117.7 billion consumer emails were sent in 2019. To be effective, yours will need to stand out from the crowd.

The good news is: You can spice your email up with minimal effort. First, use a catchy subject line. Test a few options with a tool like this one. You might also try linking to a personalized landing page where your customers will be able to see and schedule your recommended services at their convenience.

2. Service Reminder Texts

One way to contact your customers more directly is to use a text message. Short message service (SMS) marketing is great for developing a relationship with your customers, which in turn is great for customer retention.

With more than 80% of the total North American population uses text messaging, chances are you’ll be able to reach your customers. Here’s an example of what an SMS message to your customers might look like:

Our records show your [vehicle] is due for service and inspection. Click here or respond to this message to schedule an appointment with [your service department]. Reply S to opt-out of these notifications.

Like your emails, you need to capture this information and obtain opt-in permission at the first appointment.

With the right preparation, text messages can also be directed to personalized landing pages that outline the recommended services and an appointment scheduler showing open appointments.

3. Technology Partnership

Today’s most innovative dealerships are turning to partnerships with companies like DriveSure, whose DigitalPass technology makes it easy for new car dealerships to offer unbeatable vehicle maintenance and also brings customers back for service, tires, and unplanned repairs.

These technologies use downloadable digital technology to better automate the reminder process and deliver a unique suite of benefits to car owners — all while delivering the value of loyal customers to your dealership.

When looking for a company that offers these services, you’ll want to find one that provides:

  • Simplicity for customers to use and dealers to manage
  • Personalization and branding with your dealer logo
  • Automated maintenance reminders and other notifications
  • Geofencing and other targeted message delivery capabilities
  • Integrated email and text message communications
  • Convenient outreach for dealer-loyal roadside assistance


In 2020, the number of smartphone users in the US is expected to reach 272.6 million — that’s more than 80% of the population. This means there is a lot of opportunity for using digital technology as a tool to stand out from the crowd and create lasting relationships with your customers. If you choose the right partner, you’ll also be providing peace of mind to your customers, making it easier than ever for them to resolve unplanned repairs and tire issues with your dealership.



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