Do It Yourself (DIY) Auto Repair Driven by Recession, Becomes a Habit in the Recovery, according to AutoMD.com's "2013 DIY Report"

90% of DIYers are doing the same amount, or more, repairs than a year ago; 79% continue to DIY, even with improved financial outlook

Carson, CA – April 30, 2013 – An easing economic outlook has had little impact on the amount of auto repairs DIYers undertake, according to the "2013 DIY Report" from AutoMD.com. Driven by cost-savings - but also enjoying the process - DIYers are continuing to do more of their own auto repairs, are attempting more difficult repairs, and say they are saving dollars while doing so. Significantly, of those reporting an improved financial situation, the vast majority still choose to do their own repairs to save both time and money, rather than going to a mechanic. And, reflective of macro trends, these DIYers own high mileage cars and are keeping them for extended periods of time.

“When we released 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. In the ensuing years, we have seen this trend continue, bolstered by an increase in the accessibility of how-to info online,” 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 -- and even those who don’t normally DIY say they are willing to give it a try.”

The AutoMD.com report is based on an online survey conducted among 5,351 car owners from December 11, 2012 - January 21, 2013, and offers a snapshot of auto repair behavior of car owners - both DIYers and DFMers (the do-it-for-me’s).

Report Highlights:

DIYers Still Doing Own Repairs … Even with Improved Economics

Ninety-percent of DIYers report doing either the same amount, or more (42%), of their own auto repairs and maintenance this year versus one year ago. And, while 90% confirm that saving money and/or an aging vehicle is driving that increase, of those (37%) who reported that their financial situation has actually improved year over year, 79% still choose to do their own repairs.

Both DIYers and DFMers Report Aging Primary Vehicles

Not surprisingly, there has been no drop in the age of, or number of miles on, the primary vehicles of these DIYers versus a year ago, with 44% driving a vehicle that is over 10 years old. DFMers have aging vehicles as well with 36% reporting their primary ride is over 10 years of age. And these vehicles are holding a lot of miles with 64% of DIYers and 58% of DFMers reporting 100K miles or more, which is perhaps why over 90% of these DIYers report that they have performed repair work on their vehicle within the past six months.

DIYers Saving Money – 60% report saving over $500

Saving money trumps all the other reasons that are driving respondents to do their own auto repairs. “Because I enjoy it” is also a top reason, coming in at number two. And, these efforts appear to be paying off in DIYers’ wallets. The vast majority (96%) report saving over $100 annually, but nearly 60% say they save over $500, and 30% save a whopping $1,000 or more, a slight uptick from the previous year.

Easy Jobs Top the List, but Many DIYers are Attempting More Difficult Tasks

Even though easy jobs top the list of the most-performed repairs, two-thirds of DIYers report that they are more likely to attempt a difficult repair today than they were a year ago, with reasons almost evenly divided between the economy (30%), more experience and greater confidence DIYing (29%), and increased availability of online repair info (29%) -- numbers that are almost identical to the previous year’s report. Meanwhile, nearly three-fourths of those who have never done their own repairs indicate the economy might make them more likely to give a basic repair a try.

Although replacing a battery, wiper blades, headlamp bulbs, air filters and adding anti-freeze are the top five most performed jobs respectively by DIYers, significant numbers are also performing far more challenging jobs like changing the engine oil and filter, replacing spark plugs, and even replacing the brake pads.

Which of these jobs do you do yourself
(check all that apply)
DIYers
Replace battery 95.10%
Replace windshield wiper blades 94.60%
Replace headlamp bulbs 94.50%
Replace air filters 93.80%
Add antifreeze 93.30%
Change oil 90.40%
Change oil filters 90.30%
Replace spark plugs 87.60%
Replace brake pads 86.70%
Replace fuel filters 79.00%
Flush radiator/cooling system 70.80%
Repair ignition wire set 63.50%
Replace transmission filters 50.50%
Recharge/repair AC 45.20%
Change muffler 41.90%

Learning Auto Repair the Old-fashioned Way – from Dad

And how did these avid DIYers become DIYers? Nearly one in three learned the old-fashioned way, from their Dad/family, and over a third (39%) report that they are self-taught.