DIY Rises Despite Improving Economy


As drivers hang onto their vehicles longer, the trend of low-budget, do-it-yourself auto repair – including oil changes – is enduring despite an apparent upswing in the U.S. economy, a recent AutoMD online survey of car owners shows.

The results of the 5,351-person survey, taken in December 2012 and January 2013, revealed that 90 percent of do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) – including the 37 percent of that group who reported improved personal finances over the past few years – continue to do their own routine upkeep instead of having a commercial mechanic work on their vehicle.

In 2010, AutoMD’s first online survey established that car owners were driving their vehicles longer and doing an increasing amount of maintenance themselves for economic reasons. The second such report has shown that this trend is continuing, with 64 percent of DIY responders reporting over 100,000 miles on their current vehicle, compared to less than 50 percent in the 2010 survey, and 60 percent saying they have saved more than $500 per year by doing their own repairs.

Ninety percent of DIYers said they drain oil and change oil filters. The survey included other routine tasks, ranging from battery replacement, which 95 percent of self-identified DIYers reported doing – to muffler changing, which around 42 percent claimed they do themselves.

When we released our first auto repair DIY report in 2010, we found that the economy was driving more auto repair DIYing, with DIYers reporting considerable cost savings, said Brian Hafer, vice president of media and marketing at In the ensuing years, we have seen this trend continue, bolstered by an increase in the accessibility of how-to info online.

Hafer told Lube Report that while about one-third of DIYers learn by family and friends passing along first-hand information, the real revolution driving the DIY trend is the wealth of how-to information online, such as instructional videos.

Our 2013 report indicates that this trend has evolved into a routine, with these habitual DIYers saying they plan to attempt even more challenging DIY repairs in the future – and even those who dont normally DIY say they are willing to give it a try.

The results of AutoMDs survey show that once a user becomes educated, they continue to keep up factory recommended service schedules and begin to take on more complex repairs themselves, Hafer said. A lot of car owners just dont realize how easy some repairs can be, such as replacing wiper blades and batteries.” Hafer pointed out that many DIYers seem to enjoy doing the work themselves, once they know how, and once they see how much money they can save.

The survey did not include data identifying respondents by makes and models of vehicles, nor did it categorize participants by gender, but the company says it looks to build on the depth of the report in future years. AutoMD is a subsidiary of U.S. Auto Parts Network.

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