You knew it wouldn't last forever.
The streak of seven straight years of rising U.S. auto sales, something the industry hadn't seen in more than a century, is all but over. New-vehicle sales were down 1.7 percent through September compared with last year.
Dealerships' service departments haven't been coasting in the good times. With big sales have come plenty of warranty work and pre-delivery inspections.
Record numbers of recalls -- think airbag inflators and ignition switches -- have provided a revenue gravy train, as well as a capacity strain, for shops.
Now, though, the stress is different: Declining new-vehicle sales are forcing dealerships to rely more on fixed operations for profits.
The sales slump likely won't be as bad as the catastrophic drop during the Great Recession, when nearly 6 million annual new-vehicle sales vanished from 2007 through 2009. Still, the consulting firm AlixPartners predicts that U.S. sales will fall from 17.55 million new cars and light trucks last year to 15.4 million by 2019.
We've asked fixed ops experts for tips on how to prepare your service department to generate more revenue. Their 10 suggestions (if not commandments) follow.