Here’s how Prestone hopes to win your business


When was the last time you went into an auto parts store? Has it been years? Though enthusiasts may be frequenting O’Reilly Auto Parts, AutoZone, or Advance Auto Parts more often than the average consumer, there’s no doubt that the DIY market has been evolving, to put it politely.

As they reach their 90th anniversary, Prestone is having to leave behind their mass market media campaigns of the past. The change in the market means that they have had to change their game. How are they planning to win your business? I talked with Prestone’s president Steven Clancy to find out.

1.)  Address the environmental impact of the product. Clancy spent a good amount of time during our conversation talking about educating customers, not just about Prestone’s signature products, but safe ways to dispose of them. Since 1992, Prestone has teamed up with recyclers across the country to ensure that safe disposal is available. Visit to find an antifreeze/coolant recycling facility near you.

2.). Creating a product that is better than all the rest. On bottles of Prestone’s prediluted antifreeze you’ll find the tagline “5x more effective.” Here’s the thing- it is. Prestone’s scientists have come up with a product that is five times more effective in doing its job than the leading competitor. Research has backed it up and the Prestone legal team has signed off on the claim.

3.)  Sponsoring your local events. While they’ve pulled out of mass marketing efforts, Prestone isn’t abandoning all their marketing efforts. These days, the company is more likely to be found sponsoring grassroots events with a local focus. They’re also reaching out to enthusiasts in new ways like the “Project Prestone” build in partnership with Barrett-Jackson that debuted last week.

4.). Putting Prestone in your car, truck, crossover, wagon, or minivan while it’s still on the assembly line. Twenty-five percent of Prestone’s business comes from original equipment manufacturers. The company believes that their products will help keep vehicles in proper running condition for longer. When you need to have your fluids changed, you’ll likely want to use the same brand you originally had if you haven’t had any problems with it. That translates to more sales for Prestone.

Prestone’s story isn’t unique in the auto industry. They’re an aftermarket supplier that has been bought and sold again and again all while attempting to maintain a foothold in the industry. With 90 years of history in the rearview mirror, Prestone is focused on the future, where engines get smaller and coolants are even more necessary than ever.

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull
Eileen is the writer of the nationally syndicated column Automotive Minute in The Business Journals, which explores the automotive industry focusing on news, reviews, and interviews. She loves finding out about the business strategy, design, and drivability of vehicles. Eileen is a contributor to U.S. News & World Report Best Cars.

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