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Auto Service Industry Faces More DIY Consumers

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May 1, 2013—Ninety percent of car owners who undertake do-it-yourself (DIY) repairs are doing the same amount, or more, of their own auto repairs and maintenance this year versus one year ago, according to the 2013 DIY Report from AutoMD.com.

According to the AutoMD.com report, 42 percent of survey respondents who said they undertake DIY repairs said that they are doing more repairs this year than last year.

Although the numbers are not staggering, the survey plays into a current trend of self-educated customers for repair facilities—a group of consumers who want to understand the vehicles they drive. A separate 2012 survey from AutoMD.com, revealed that more than 80 million people in the U.S. turn to the Internet for automotive-related advice, many utilizing social media and mobile applications to do so.

Former shop owner and industry consultant Ray Kunz says that, most often, the customer is concerned with one thing: price. This means vehicle owners are more prone to come to shops with general knowledge of parts costs and labor rates.

And there’s always the chance that, if the vehicle only needs a simple repair, customers will simply opt to do the work themselves.

In the 2013 DIY survey, 37 percent of those surveyed reported that their financial situation has improved year over year. Still, 79 percent say they choose to do their own repairs, citing saving money or an aging vehicle as the primary reasons for choosing to do their own repairs.

As for the amount of money saved, 96 percent report saving more than $100 annually, but nearly 60 percent say they save more than $500, and 30 percent reported saving $1,000 or more.

The top five most performed jobs by DIYers included replacing a battery, wiper blades, headlamp bulbs, air filters and adding anti-freeze. However, two-thirds of those surveyed reported that they are more likely to attempt a difficult repair today than they were a year ago. The reasons for this increase in confidence included the economy, more experience in DIY repairs, and increased availability of online repair information.

Of those who have never done their own repairs, 75 percent of those surveys said the economy might make them more likely to try a basic repair.

"When we release_notesd 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,” 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."   

The AutoMD.com report is based on an online survey conducted among 5,351 car owners.

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