The results of an AutoMD survey of 2800 car owners supports financial information reported here in September. The idea is that more people are repairing their own cars as a way to cope with economic stress and the need to retain their vehicles longer than ever before. This contradicts the popular notion that in times of recession, repair shops flourish as a result of vehicle retention.
What may have been true in previous negative economic cycles may not be happening this time, as the consumer is looking to their cars as a DIY area in which they can save money. The AutoMD research entitled “2010 DIY Report” indicates that nearly a third of the respondents say that they save between $500 to $1000 a year by doing everything from replacing batteries to recharging their car air conditioners.
The participants cited “the bad economy” and “holding onto my vehicle longer” as reasons that their level of self maintenance has risen over the past two years. As might be expected, the easier the repair procedure is the more likely the DIYer is to perform it. Battery replacement ranked highest as a preferred self repair with an oil change only a few points behind.
When asked by AutoMD if they would be more open to doing their own repairs if they had access to free guides and/or video demonstrations, 84.3 percent answered either yes or maybe. Although on the surface this may not bode well for auto repair facilities, it is hard to imagine a significant percentage of the public wanting to replace a steering rack on the floor of their garage.
The smaller maintenance-type auto products, like air filters and wiper blades, which ranked high as items the respondents were already replacing themselves, were lost by the full service repair shops some time ago when every drug and hardware store added automotive aisles to their operations.
However even 44 percent of self-described "Do It For Me" consumers said that having reliable free guides would entice them to attempt basic repairs. On the other hand, 65 percent of DIYers said that they would move on to more involved repairs like brake shoe or water pump replacement if resource material was available in the form of how-to guides or videos.
The survey was taken in September 2010 at that time over half the participants said they were doing “significantly more” of their own repairs than they did two years ago.