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Economy, Aging Vehicles Drive ‘Do-It-Yourselfers,’ AutoMD.com Reports

February 09, 2012

CARSON, Calif. — The economy and aging vehicle population continues to spur more car owners to do more of their own auto repairs, according to AutoMD.com’s 2012 DIY Report. And those who have never done their own repairs are now considering doing so in today’s still tight economy.

More than half of DIYers admitted to postponing auto repairs in the past twelve months, with the economy being the reason cited by nearly two-thirds of respondents. DIYers also have been saving money by performing more of their own auto repairs and report becoming more confident in doing so over the past two years. They also said they take pleasure in doing the repairs themselves.

“Because I enjoy it” trailed only “to save money” as the top two reasons people are doing more DIY. One in four also reported undertaking more DIY auto repairs because more information is now available online.

AutoMD.com report is based on an online survey conducted among more than 11,000 car owners from November 2011 through January 2012, and offers a snapshot of the auto repair behavior of car owners — both DIYers and DFMers (the do-it-for-me's). 

Nearly half (49 percent) of self-reported DIYers said they are doing more auto repairs themselves than they did the previous year, an increase of 29 percent from last year. Of those DIYers, 69 percent claimed they are more likely to attempt a more difficult repair this year than last. Of confirmed DFMers (those who typically never do repairs themselves), 77 percent said current economic conditions have made them more likely to attempt their own repairs.

Considering that consumers are holding onto their vehicles for extended periods of times, the report found that 80 percent of car owners surveyed planned to put 50,000 or more miles on their current vehicle than they had on their previous one. AutoMD.com's data also showed that 64 percent of respondents currently have a vehicle with more than 100K miles on the odometer, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year's study.

Additionally, more than 40 percent of those surveyed currently drive a vehicle that is more than 10 years old. The economy and people holding onto their vehicles longer were identified as key factors in the uptick in DIY repair, as 42 percent of survey respondents confirmed that these two forces are driving them to DIY more.

"Saving Money" was the No.1 reason cited by DIYers (83 percent) for doing their own auto repairs, while 60 percent reported saving more than $500 a year DIYing it and buying their own parts. Another 89 percent of DFMers surveyed said that if they could purchase a part and bring it into the shop for installation when they go in for repairs, they would.

In spite of the increase in auto repair DIYing, 57 percent of respondents said that they had postponed auto repairs and maintenance in the last twelve months. "Lack of time" was the reason cited by nearly one-third, but 60 percent reported that the economy was to blame.

For more information, visit www.automd.com.

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