Downturn Has Impacted Vehicle Maintenance Behaviors

Noria news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: automotive

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, recently completed an end-user study, U.S. Vehicle Owners' Attitudes and Behaviors toward Vehicle Maintenance. The research focuses on U.S. vehicle owners' performance of regular vehicle maintenance such as engine oil changes, air filter changes, tire maintenance, etc., as well as their attitudes toward maintaining their vehicles, and is an update to Frost & Sullivan's 2006 research. The research survey includes responses from 1,085 participants that represent seven different vehicle segments.


No surprise, the most popularly performed minor maintenance is the engine oil change. Yet, all minor maintenance work surveyed, is being performed less frequently compared to the 2006 results. This appears to be a direct result of the economic recession, as vehicle owners are making small changes to save money, which seems to translate into longer periods of time or more miles between minor maintenance performances.


"With the current economic downturn, some vehicle owners find ways to put the brakes on expenses for regular vehicle maintenance," explains, Mary-Beth Kellenberger, global automotive aftermarket program manager with Frost & Sullivan's Automotive & Transportation practice. "Getting an oil change less frequently accomplishes that goal."


According to the survey, brake service/inspection remain the most popularly performed "other" maintenance (fuel injection service, transmission service, A/C system service, engine cooling system service, suspension system service, and muffler/exhaust service) of those surveyed. Coinciding with minor maintenance behaviors, other maintenance is also being performed less often. However, U.S. vehicle owners maintain positive attitudes toward vehicle maintenance while their behaviors appear to contradict their beliefs. Specifically, most vehicle owners believe it is important to be proactive regarding their vehicle maintenance and follow their vehicle owner's manual for maintenance (73 percent).


"During this economic recession, vehicle owners are likely looking to extend the life of their vehicles, yet, they are not taking some simple steps ensure their vehicle longevity," states Tonya Fowler, global director with Frost & Sullivan's Customer Research team.


Overall, the largest proportion of vehicle owners relies on their vehicle dealerships to perform their maintenance – both minor and "other." Yet, for oil changes and tire maintenance, specialty repair shops compete with dealers.


"Within a recession, vehicle dealerships, repair shops, service centers, etc. should promote the importance of vehicle maintenance to their customers. Explaining that small investments now can translate into a better performing and long-lasting vehicle," adds Kellenberger.


This survey was conducted by Frost & Sullivan's Customer Research Team, working in conjunction with Frost & Sullivan's Automotive & Transportation Team. Specifically, the Customer Research Team conducts independent unbiased research among end-users to evaluate and measure companies and trends in the market.


For more information, send an e-mail to Christina Alfaro, customer research, at, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company web site, city, state and country. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be sent to you by e-mail.