Car maintenance is key to keeping cars longer

February 22, 2012 12:00 AM

When the recession hit back in 2008, drivers started holding onto their cars longer than they would have prior to the economic downturn. For many, paying for car repair bills made more sense than shelling out money for another vehicle. A recent Polk survey finds that this trend is continuing, and the average amount time drivers keep their vehicles is on the rise.

New cars are being driven for an average of 71.4 months, and used car ownership averages about 49.9 months. Overall, the average length of car ownership has increased 23 percent since the third quarter of 2008, when the economy first dipped, and Polk experts expect this trend will continue as Americans recover from the recession.

"Unemployment rates continue to be high, and we expect many consumers will suffer from the lingering effects of the downturn, further contributing to longer ownership trends," said Polk spokesman Mark Seng.

Regular auto maintenance is key to ensuring a vehicle runs well as long as possible, and getting oil changes and tire rotation can help your car run better and use less gas. However, certain parts will wear out over time. It is important to address minor repairs as they crop up, lest they worsen and wind up being even more expensive to fix. Many motorists put off small fixes to save money, but this can lead to more costly repairs down the line and make their vehicles less safe.

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