Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Car owners postpone repairs in downturn

Canadian motorists are spending less on car repairs and putting off non-essential maintenance during tough economic times, says market researcher J.D. Power and Associates.

The average annual expenditure on vehicle maintenance and repair for the 12 months leading up to July 2009 dropped seven per cent to $856, compared to the 12 months previous to July 2008 when vehicle owners spent $920, according to the group's survey, released Tuesday.

"We think it has to do with reacting to the economic conditions," said Ryan Robinson, senior manager for automotive research solutions.

Robinson warned that the trend could end up costing vehicle owners more in the long term if they have to pay for emergency maintenance.

In addition, the survey showed the proportion of vehicle owners who say they "go to the cheapest place I can find for service" has increased to 23 per cent from 17 per cent.

And while motorists brought their vehicle in for servicing an average of four times a year for the 12 months previous to July 2008, they averaged three service appointments a year for the most recent 12-month period.

The survey is based on responses from 14,388 owners across Canada whose vehicles are between three and 12 years old, and was completed between April and June 2009.

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