May 22, 2024

How to transform autocare with predictive maintenance

Winona Rajamohan

Content Marketing Manager

Zach Olson, CEO and founder of Treads, joins Smartcar’s Laura Huddle and Chris Coppe for a discussion on how connected cars are changing consumers' perceptions of automotive maintenance. Watch the full webinar replay here

Treads is an AI-powered car maintenance subscription packed into an intuitive mobile application. Vehicle owners connect and onboard their car to Treads via the Smartcar API and are then given the option to select a maintenance subscription — options include subscriptions specifically for tire alignment services, oil changes, wiper blades, and more. 

“The key aspect behind this new technology is that it allows us as a business to rethink how consumers can pay for these [maintenance] services instead of the traditional way of getting a quote,” says Zach. “What we really focus on for consumers is smoothing out car ownership as a whole. So, a simple monthly fee. You pick the plan that fits your budget.” 

Treads is just one example of how the automotive maintenance industry is adapting its delivery model to attract and build trust with customers. The insights discussed in this webinar highlight how all maintenance businesses — from mobile apps to small businesses and national franchises — can benefit from secure, direct access to telematics data from customer vehicles. 

Connected car apps reflect changing consumer behavior

The average age of a car on the road increased to 12.5 years in 2023, heightening the need for regular vehicle maintenance. However, the average repair bill also increased due to more expensive aftermarket and OEM parts. 

Not all vehicle owners have the time or interest to invest in a proper vehicle upkeep schedule. However, there is building urgency for vehicle maintenance to become a more accessible component of the mobility experience. Shifting consumer behavior is a response to drivers having to take better care of their vehicles while navigating price increases, maintenance options, or a lack of knowledge on best practices on vehicle servicing. 

Consumers have had expectations reset through a lot of on-demand conveniences in life — whether that be Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, the way we consume everything from transportation to cash, fashion, entertainment. It’s the moment in time for the automotive industry to catch up and start delivering what consumers already expect.

— Zach Olson, CEO and founder at Treads

Mobility applications powered by vehicle connectivity help drivers tailor their maintenance experience to their preferences and daily habits. In our 2023 State of Connected Car Apps report, we discovered that  63% of respondents would pay for a connected car application.

Of these respondents, 35% of drivers wanted connected car applications to empower them with personalized vehicle recommendations and services. The exact number of respondents specifically called out vehicle maintenance alerts and reports as their most wanted application feature. 

What does the driver experience look like with connected cars? 

Vehicle connectivity allows customers to shift from reactive maintenance to proactive predictive maintenance

“In the autocare space, you have a lot of reactionary events,” says Chris Coppe, Enterprise Sales Director at Smartcar. “You usually don't realize it until you get in the car and drive somewhere that a light goes off on your dash, or your car breaks down because you needed an oil change a year, and you didn't do it.” 

These unexpected, reactionary events make maintenance costly and inconvenient. In the US, unexpected repairs can cost anywhere from $10 for a flat tire to $5000 for a transmission issue. Connected cars give vehicle owners and auto repair services timely visibility into vehicle performance so warning signs and irregularities can be detected before they become larger issues. 

With proactive maintenance, repair businesses can leverage more customer touchpoints to build a seamless experience drivers are willing to invest in and trust. Whether you’re a maintenance application like Treads or a repair shop, you can use vehicle connectivity to: 

  • Power a virtual glovebox experience: Engage customers with personalized offers, products, and educational content that best match their maintenance priorities. 
  • Lower customer acquisition costs for targeted marketing: Display targeted advertising and promotions to the right customers at the right time — like when a vehicle hits a specific milestone or encounters a particular event. 
  • Improve on-the-ground efficiency: Streamline appointment scheduling and inventory management by having early visibility into the state of a customer’s vehicle. 

🧰 Guide: The Smartcar API for repair and maintenance

Learn how you can use Smartcar endpoints for predictive maintenance, what you get our of integrating with our platform, and real examples of maintenance solutions that use Smartcar.

👉 Get your copy

How Treads uses the Smartcar API to enable predictive maintenance 

Treads is on a mission to democratize data for vehicle owners with a reliable, easy-to-implement, simple, and secure solution. OBD-II dongles were out of the question for Treads because of the friction associated with ordering and shipping the hardware and educating customers on how to use it properly and avoid inaccurate data readings. 

 Building vehicle integrations from scratch would take a lot of work for a small company, especially at scale.

Without Smartcar in the equation, we would have to look at some pretty old technology and piecemeal it together to even get a fraction of the information from the vehicle.

— Zach Olson, CEO and founder at Treads

The Smartcar API gave Treads the agility to integrate vehicle integrations into their mobile application infrastructure. Smartcar helps Treads monitor tire pressure, fuel range, and more to track tire wear and tear and send timely notifications to customers. 

With these notifications, customers can easily view the condition of their tires as their mileage increases. They can also schedule their necessary maintenance services directly from the notification they receive. 

Empower customers with secure, consent-driven, connected car solutions 

Smartcar is a platform that helps automotive businesses put drivers first. From applications like Treads to local repair shops and autocare software, our API allows businesses to adapt their business model to better reflect consumer needs. 

Smartcar equips your application or service with a thorough consent management system, giving drivers access to an ecosystem of applications that enhance the vehicle ownership experience. No data is collected or used without a driver’s knowledge. Instead, Smartcar requires consumers to give explicit permissions after they’re made aware of what data they’re sharing, what application has access to it, and how that application will use the data. 

If you want to add driver-centric features to your maintenance application and service while adhering to privacy standards and requirements, book a demo with us today

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