At Liberty Honda a damaged wheel holds Nate Sisco's office door open. He uses it to close sales of tire-and-wheel protection policies.
"It works great," says Sisco, the Hartford, Conn., store's business manager. "People think it's the coolest looking door stopper and say, 'What's that for?' I explain to them that the person it belonged to had to leave their wheel behind."
Most likely, the person hit a pothole that destroyed it, Sisco adds.
Finance and insurance professionals say sales of tire-and-wheel protection policies were higher in the first few months of 2014 than they were in 2013 as motorists contended this year with roads ravaged by one of the coldest, snowiest and iciest winters on record.
It's spring now, but many F&I managers hope to keep the tire-and-wheel sales momentum going.
"We have good F&I managers who are very resourceful," said Dave Duncan, president of Safe-Guard Products International, an F&I product provider in Atlanta. "I have F&I managers who have charts on their desks that show how a pothole is formed. Or a mason jar on their desk with nails, screws and glass that they pulled out of tires."
Duncan added that a couple of F&I managers have laminated an article from The Wall Street Journal about the pothole problem to show to customers.