Fuel Prices Drive Increase in DIY Activity
(Akron/Tire Review) According to new research from the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), DIY activity actually increased last year, a shift that AASA said may have been driven by rising fuel costs.
“Fuel price increases in 2006 may have strained personal budgets, so consumers’ search for savings in other portions of car ownership is a logical reaction,” said Frank Hampshire, AASA’s senior director of market research. “Consumers looking for ways to cut repair costs may have performed their own maintenance, while those looking to improve fuel economy may have purchased products related to that end.”
The study showed that in 2006, 52.9 per cent of vehicle owners performed light DIY on their vehicles, compared to 40.0 per cent in 2005. Medium DIY efforts increased to 29.4 per cent in 2006 from 27.9 per cent in 2005, and heavy DIY rose to 25.6 per cent in 2006 from 25.0 per cent in 2005.
AASA grouped service jobs into light, medium or heavy DIY categories. Examples of light DIY include replacing car batteries, adding antifreeze and installing a new air filter. Jobs in the medium DIY category are more involved and include installing items such as brake shoes and pads and alternators. Jobs in the heavy DIY category require the most knowledge and level of expertise and include replacing fuel injectors and head gaskets.
“While the long term trend of decreasing participation in DIY remains, we interpret the increases in 2006 as the result of better marketing campaigns combined with easier access to repair information,” said Steve Handschuh, president and COO of AASA. “Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of products available and are finding that online resources provide a wealth of step-by-step instructions, complete with illustrations, for many service jobs.”