CARSON, Calif. (April 30, 2013) — The economic outlook may be easing a bit, but that has had little impact on the amount of auto repairs by do-it-yourselfers (DIYers), according to the "2013 DIY Report" from AutoMD.com.
DIYers are continuing to do more of their own auto repairs, driven by cost-savings but also enjoying the process. And, according to AutoMD.com, they're attempting more difficult repairs and say they are saving dollars while doing so. Of those reporting an improved financial situation, the vast majority of DIYers are still choosing to do their own repairs to save time and money, rather than going to a mechanic. Reflective of macro trends, these DIYers own high mileage cars and are keeping them for extended periods of time, AutoMD.com said. The company, a subsidiary of U.S. Auto Parts Network Inc., provides a free online automotive repair resource for car owners and DIYers.
"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. In the ensuing years, we have seen this trend continue, bolstered by an increase in the accessibility of how-to info online," said Brian Hafer, vice president of media and marketing at AutoMD.com.
"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 don't normally DIY say they are willing to give it a try."
The AutoMD.com report is based on an online survey conducted among 5,351 car owners from Dec. 11, 2012, through Jan. 21, 2013. It offers a snapshot of the auto repair behavior of car owners—both DIYers and the do-it-for-me (DFMers) crowd.
Among the report's highlights:
• 90 percent of DIYers report doing either the same amount, or more (42 percent), of their own auto repairs and maintenance this year vs. one year ago. While 90 percent confirm saving money and/or an aging vehicle is driving that increase, of those (37 percent) who reported that their financial situation has actually improved year over year, 79 percent still choose to do their own repairs.
• "Not surprisingly, there has been no drop in the age of, or number of miles on, the primary vehicles of these DIYers vs. a year ago, with 44 percent driving a vehicle that is over 10 years old," AutoMD.com said. "DFMers have aging vehicles as well, with 36 percent reporting their primary ride is over 10 years of age. And these vehicles are holding a lot of miles, with 64 percent of DIYers and 58 percent of DFMers reporting 100K miles or more—which is perhaps why over 90 percent of these DIYers report that they have performed repair work on their vehicle within the past six months."
• Saving money trumps all the other reasons driving respondents to do their own auto repairs, AutoMD.com said. "Because I enjoy it" is also a top reason, coming in at No. 2. These efforts appear to be paying off in DIYers' wallets, the company said, noting "the vast majority (96 percent) report saving over $100 annually, but nearly 60 percent say they save over $500, and 30 percent save a whopping $1,000 or more, a slight uptick from the previous year."
• Even though easy jobs top the list of the most-performed repairs, according to AutoMD.com, two-thirds of DIYers report they are more likely to attempt a difficult repair today than they were a year ago, with reasons almost evenly divided among the economy (30 percent), more experience and greater confidence DIYing (29 percent) and increased availability of online repair info (29 percent)—numbers almost identical to the previous year's report. Meanwhile, nearly three-fourths of those who have never done their own repairs indicate the economy might make them more likely to give a basic repair a try.
• Replacing a battery, wiper blades, headlamp bulbs, air filters and adding anti-freeze are the top five most-performed jobs, respectively, by DIYers, but the AutoMD.com survey found that significant numbers of shadetree mechanics also are performing far more challenging jobs like changing the engine oil and filter, replacing spark plugs and even replacing the brake pads.
• Of the avid DIYers surveyed, nearly one in three told AutoMD.com that they learned vehicle repairs the old-fashioned way—from their dad and/or family members, and more than a third (39 percent) reported they are self-taught.