Canadians spend about $800/year on vehicle maintenance

Vehicle age accounts for a big variation in annual vehicle maintenance costs

Published: August 30, 2012, 4:00 PM
Updated: November 26, 2014, 3:18 AM

Auto Repair

On average, Canadians spend $796 each year on vehicle maintenance, according to the most recent DesRosiers Automotive Consultants’ Light Vehicle Study, which is conducted three times a year.

The survey of 4,500 Canadian vehicle users studies the ownership and repair habits of consumers across more than 25 vehicle and component areas.

While the average annual maintenance expenditure is just under $800, owners of Detroit Three-branded vehicles pay slightly more while those with import nameplate vehicles pay slightly less, DesRosiers discloses.

Not surprisingly, vehicle age accounts for a bigger variation. Owners of vehicles aged one to three years – typically still within their new-vehicle warranty period – spend the least followed by those with vehicles aged four to five ($756), six to seven ($944), and eight to 12 ($913) years old.

Surprisingly, maintenance costs for owners of vehicles 13 years old or more actually decline ($801) – perhaps at that stage because of simple neglect.

The majority (73.7%) of vehicle owners said they take their vehicles to a service outlet for maintenance and repair work. The proportion of those who perform their own maintenance is declining slightly (26.3% in 2011 compared to 27.0% in 2007).

As with most other vehicle maintenance issues, the "Do It Yourself" to "Do It For Me" ratio (DIY / DIFM) varies considerably with vehicle age.

The DIY is just 9.0% for vehicles one to three years old but 46.2% for those 13 years or older.

In addition, DIY and DIFM rates vary not just with vehicle age but also by product category.

Wiper blades, for example, led the industry in DIY install rates, with 74.3 percent of owners opting to install their own. At the other extreme was the routine oil change. Fully 82.1 percent of respondents had their oil changed at a service outlet, up from 78.4 percent as recently as 2007.