In spite of a recovering economy, Americans are in no rush to put their old cars out to pasture. A new survey shows they plan to hold onto their rides longer and put more miles on them than they have in the past.
While this fleet of aging autos may be bad news for new-car dealers, it signals money in the bank for independent repair shops.
Nearly 80 percent of owners plan to drive their current car for at least 50,000 miles more than they drove their previous vehicle, a survey by AutoMD, an online auto repair resource, showed.
The percentage of survey respondents with 100,000 miles on their current car increased 25 percent from last year, and 68 percent said they planned on driving their existing vehicle for over 150,000 miles or "until it dies."
Only 12 percent of car owners plan to buy a new car in 2011, according to the survey. And almost half of those in the market for a new vehicle are planning a purchase only because they have to. Thirty-nine percent plan to buy a used car or truck.
Service contracts also are taking a hit. Nearly half of those who do intend to buy a new car told AutoMD they don't plan on purchasing a service contract, with 56 percent saying it is too expensive. Instead they prefer to go to the local independent repair shop (34 percent) or just take their chances with their vehicle (22 percent).
A quarter of those bailing on purchasing a service contract said they planned to do most of the repair or maintenance work themselves.
"With better-built vehicles able to sustain longer lives on the road, and new access to robust online repair information, we are not surprised that car owners continue to hold onto their current vehicles for miles longer than before, and that many of those who plan to buy a vehicle are opting out of purchasing a service contract and plan to either do their own repairs or visit their local repair shop instead," said Brian Hafer, AutoMD.com's marketing VP.
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