The Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) has released the latest in a series of reports about consumer behaviour and industry changes.
The latest report “Under the Hood: How Canadians View Vehicle Maintenance and Repair” is an exhaustive look at how important maintenance and repair is to vehicle owners, how vehicle owners would prefer to be reminded about upcoming maintenance needs, and the trade-off between cost and quality when it comes to selecting replacement parts.
With research conducted by Quorus Consulting Group, the report makes a number of conclusions, including the fact that nearly two thirds of vehicle owners (about 64%) consider maintenance and repair a high priority.
The report assesses the responses of 2,061 people from all parts of the country. Among the demographic nuggets they uncovered:
* Women are more likely to prioritize safety;
* Respondents in Atlantic Canada are the most likely to consider themselves knowledgeable about vehicle maintenance; and
* The younger the vehicle owner, the more likely they are to prioritize resale value.
Overall, safety was the most common reason for maintaining a vehicle, followed by preventing break downs, preserving the value of their investment, and making it last as long as possible.
Owners take their vehicles in, on average, twice a year for maintenance only, once a year for repairs only, and roughly once every two years for both maintenance and repairs at the same time.
If a vehicle owner is going to let something slide from time to time, it is most likely going to be related to checking or changing their engine oil, or related to their tires, including changing the tires, checking tire wear or doing regular pressure checks.
Canadians say they look for higher quality parts when it comes to obvious safety parts such as tires and brakes (61% say they would want a better-than-average tires and 60% would say the same for their brakes). Between 51% and 56% want that same quality (better-than-average) for batteries, motor oil, chassis, and suspension parts. More people are quite happy to settle for “average” parts when it comes to things like windshield wipers, headlights and exhaust parts.
Most consumers play a role in choosing the part that is used in maintenance and repairs. Only a small proportion of vehicle owners (ranging from 8-20% depending on the work being done) defers to what the technician or service manager recommends.
“It is important for any automotive service provider to understand the consumer’s point of view when it comes to maintenance and repair, and how these perspectives differ across market segments,” the authors conclude. “Just because a vehicle owner believes they are ‘on top of things’ does not always mean they are.”
Vehicle maintenance quality depends on where the vehicle is taken for service. Fast lube shop staff are not qualified or able to inspect safety related parts on vehicles. Maintenance is more than fluids. Typically vehicles that are regularly serviced at fast lube places require major repairs because these areas are not inspected. Advertising leads people to believe their vehicles are safe after visiting these shops. It is really easy to switch these people to come to our shops based on the skill level of the technician working on their vehicle. Good inspections take time to complete. Fast lube shops get you in and out in record time. Fast is not good.