Quick question for you: if the car you drove to work today suddenly needed repairs, how much would be too much for you to spend fixing it? At what point would you slap a "For Sale" sign on it and head to the new car lot?
According to a survey conducted for AutoZone, Americans will pay up to around $2,500 before giving up on a car. According to the survey of 886 driving adults, 53 percent of consumers say they would buy a new car rather than fix their old one when the estimated repair bill exceeds $2,000. In fact, 30 percent of respondents say if the bill is between $1,000 and $2,000, the car is no longer welcome in the garage. According to a spokesperson for AutoZone, the average repair bill that would make someone sell their car is just over $2,600.
Here’s the problem: 82 percent of the people surveyed say they would rather fix than switch yet more than half say they spent less than $300 last year on maintenance. And because nearly half of them believe that washing it will make a vehicle hold its value, you have to question what today’s drivers really understand about their cars.
Rushing out to take advantage of no money down and zero-percent interest may seem like the perfect solution to a transportation headache, but think about it: if you can qualify for a no-interest loan, you’re certainly not going to be overwhelmed by installing a rebuilt engine in "old reliable" at a fraction of the cost of a new car or truck!
Many of today’s drivers don’t take into consideration the real costs of a new car higher insurance rates, immediate depreciation and loss of value, a five-year monthly commitment…sure, it has that new car smell, but even that disappears after a few months.
As an industry, we need to help educate consumers about the real benefits of resurrecting their well-maintained cars with rebuilt engines. Now that the Automotive Repower Council has joined the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association to become the Engine Repower Council (ERC), you’ll have a powerful ally in communicating your message to drivers and professional installers. A new ERC Web site and program initiatives will be coming soon to help spread the word and educate vehicle owners.
If drivers realize how short-sighted the replace-don’t repair attitude is, it will be good for us all.