Owners Keep Vehicles Longer


Car owners put 50,000 more miles on their current vehicles than on their previous ones, and pay more attention to maintenance, according to AutoMDs online survey of car owners.

AutoMD, a subsidiary of U.S. Auto Parts Network, launched in January 2010 as a free online automotive repair resources for car owners. The company conducted its survey among car owners in December 2009 and January 2010.

Not only are consumers holding onto their vehicles for years longer but, more significantly, for miles longer, opting to repair and maintain rather than purchasing new, AutoMD President Shane Evangelist said. We estimate these car owners will be spending at least an additional $2,500 on repairs over the intended life of their vehicle.

Brian Hafer, AutoMD vice president of media and marketing services, noted the economys role in trends turned up in the survey. Obviously, the economy is a big driver of that – people are trying to save money, Hafer told Lube Report. Look at how many cars are being sold every year. Compared to five to six years ago, that has gone down considerably. People know, if Im going to hang onto my car longer, obviously Im going to have to do the basic things to keep it in shape, keep it maintained.

Nearly 50 percent of survey respondents said their current vehicle has more than 100,000 miles. Thirteen percent reported they planned to drive their current vehicle for 150,000 or more miles, while a resounding 56 percent will keep driving until their vehicle dies.

About 54 percent of owners surveyed reported spending $500 or more on yearly repairs to their vehicle, with 21 percent saying they spent $1,000 or more. Forty-four percent noted that tight budgets drove them to either pay more attention to maintenance and repairs, or do the repairs themselves.

Hafer pointed out that with more information available to consumers online on how to maintain their cars, more are choosing to do things themselves. Thats driving the market. Were seeing more and more users doing the do-it-yourself type of jobs today than compared to maybe 10 years ago, he remarked.

One quarter of respondents cited the economy as their reason for holding onto their vehicle for 100,000 miles or more. Nearly 30 percent believed that being vigilant with repairs and service should keep it in good running condition.

The survey also asked owners if they stuck to regular factory recommended service schedules. According to Hafer, 32 percent said they absolutely followed the recommended schedule, while 45 percent reported they nearly followed the schedule. That data point might be one we re-ask later to see how it trends, he added.

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