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Canadians take care of their cars

But younger drivers seem less inclined to maintain their vehicles

Published: May 29, 2012, 5:00 PM

Contrary to popular belief, Canadian drivers do consider the maintenance of their vehicles to be important. That's one of the conclusions of "The Canadian Automotive Service Sector Consumer Behaviour Study," which was conducted recently by J.D. Power and Associates for the Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada.

Three-quarters of vehicle service visits are routine or seasonal, the study finds. About 56% of all last-service occasions were prompted due to routine maintenance, 6% were, "service-provider scheduled maintenance" and 13% were for "tire replacement/seasonal change."

An exception to those figures can be found among younger drivers (aged 18 to 24), where only 50 percent cited routine maintenance as the reason for their last service occasion.

"Our vehicle fleet in Canada is growing in size and aging", said AIA Canada president Marc Brazeau. The average age of vehicles on the road is now 8.5 years.

"It is surprising to find that, as vehicles age," he noted, "there is a significant decline in the frequency of service visits as well as a significant increase in the amount spent per visit."

Brazeau suggested that this finding the benefits of regular maintenance, as vehicles get older. "Frequent visits with a lower price tag result in happier customers, compared to those who come in less frequently and face a high repair bill," he said.

Other points of interest from the study include the facts that one out of three participants rely on their vehicle to earn a living and the average daily commute is estimated to be 39 minutes for Canadians across the country.

The study also shed some light on consumers changing preferences with respect to communication from service providers.

Nearly four out of ten (37%) auto owners demonstrated a preference for their automotive service provider to communicate with them via email – not far behind those who prefer phone calls (46%) and well ahead of those preferring traditional mail (12%).

In addition, a number of participants aged 39 and under – many of whom will be service customers for many years to come – indicated text messaging as their preferred means of communications.