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20% of Households Are Putting Off Vehicle Maintenance

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20% of Households Are Putting Off Vehicle Maintenance

Twenty percent of American households are delaying maintenance on their vehicles, according to the results of a recent survey by automotive research firm IMR Inc.

IMR, which surveys 25,000 households each quarter, has been tracking delayed maintenance trends since 2016.

Since then, the trend of delayed vehicle maintenance “has slowly declined quarter-over-quarter from nearly 23.6% of households reporting delaying one or more vehicle service repairs” to 17.6%, which was reported during the first quarter of 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The downward trajectory was interrupted during 2Q 2020 by shelter-in-place orders and the resulting drop-off in miles driven, according to IMR.

In Q2 2020, the top 10 categories of delayed maintenance/repair, in order of highest percentage to lowest, are:


1.    Oil change
2.    Tires (new)
3.    Battery (car)
4.    Scheduled maintenance
5.    Brake shoes/pads
6.    Brake discs/rotors/drums
7.    Air filter
8.    Other collision, paint or body repairs
9.    Major/minor paint work
10.  Wiper blades

According to IMR, the top three reasons for delaying maintenance have not changed:

  • “Cost of repair is too much;" 
  • "Couldn’t find a convenient time,” and;
  • “Repair isn’t important to the overall drivability of this vehicle.”

However, 16.3% of those surveyed reported “other” as their reason for delay and 59% of those who responded “other” cited their reason was in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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