Survey Confirms Importance of Vehicle Maintenance
For most people, their automobile, truck or SUV represents
the second-largest purchase they will ever make, behind only
their house in cost. So it makes good sense to protect that
investment through regular maintenance, right?
As sensible and commonplace as this advice
is, many of us are having trouble following it, according
to a survey of ASE-certified automotive technicians. It's
not because the auto technicians aren't trying. Just as doctors’
warnings about the dangers of a poor diet and no exercise
often fall on deaf ears, these doctors of motors dispense
good advice, but it is often ignored.
Virtually one half (48 percent) of ASE-certified
technicians polled indicated that they "always"
tell their customers about the importance of vehicle maintenance,
while these same technicians report that only two percent
of motorists "always" follow their advice. Admittedly
some of us backslide from time to time, so maybe "always"
sets too high a standard. Adding in the responses for "usually,"
the results are not much better. Eight-four percent of technicians
said they "always" or "usually" explain
the importance of maintenance, while only 29 percent of motorists
"always" or "usually" follow technicians'
"Considering the costs and complexity
of today's vehicles, consumers are being penny-wise and dollar-foolish
if they neglect routine maintenance," notes ASE President
Ronald H. Weiner. Almost two-thirds of the technicians surveyed
felt that consumers could take care of their maintenance and
repair needs for $500 or less annually. Not a huge amount,
considering the average cost of a new vehicle or the return
So what items specifically are consumers
neglecting? The old-fashioned oil change tops the list, followed
by transmissions, tires, cooling systems, brakes, belts and
tune-ups/engine performance. The downside of all this neglect
is shortened vehicle life, compromised safety, poor gasoline
mileage and the specter of minor repairs ballooning into big-ticket
As vehicles become more complex and packed
with computers, conventional wisdom might suggest that younger
people, at ease with today's high-tech gadgets, would be a
bit more likely to keep up with repairs than the older generations.
Not so. The ASE-certified technicians polled indicated that
middle-aged people took the best care of the vehicles (48
percent), followed closely by the elderly (42 percent). Young
people placed dead last, at one percent.
For those who do take their vehicles in
for routine maintenance and service, there’s payoff,
according to the surveyed techs. A majority of technicians
said motorists could extend vehicle life by 50 percent or
Mind you, the foregoing isn't the opinion
of your back-yard mechanic brother-in-law. Participants in
the straw poll, ASE-certified technicians, are among the best
in the industry, having taken and passed independent national
certification exams. Slightly over a third (36 percent) of
the participants were college graduates, another third (37
percent) had graduated from a technical school. Ninety percent
use a computer on the job; 86 percent use one at home.