Why Do People Put Off Car Maintenance?

Jamey Walsh
November 13, 2023

With the rising cost of living, Americans are buckling up their wallets and only opening them for necessary bills and expenses. Auto repairs and maintenance aren’t on the list of necessities for most households either. U.S. drivers are putting off routine car maintenance and repairs, totaling $24.9 billion annually. 

Why do drivers put off car maintenance, especially when it could lead to a safety hazard or more expensive problems down the road? The list includes busy lifestyles, strained finances and a lack of knowledge about vehicle repair and safety precautions. 

Fortunately, auto repair shops can cut through the fog by delivering accessible on-premise auto-repair education and more with cutting-edge technology.

Diagnosing the issue: why do people put off car maintenance?

First off, if you haven’t already, check out our ultimate guide to marketing your auto repair shop. We discuss in detail how to reach your customers in the most effective way. But if you’re looking to reach customers who put off maintenance, you’ve come to the right place.

On the surface, it seems counterintuitive for any driver to put off car maintenance and repairs (especially with the safety risks involved). However, there are many reasons drivers do this, starting with a lack of auto-education and awareness. 

Common reasons car maintenance is delayed

What’s another 1,000 miles to an oil change that’s past due? Or a road trip on a set of tires that should’ve been changed six months ago? These are some of the questions drivers may be asking themselves to avoid coming into your auto shop. 

Auto Inc. tells us that 54.3% of drivers are too busy to take their vehicle in for a service or repair, with another 52.2% of drivers citing financial difficulties fueling their delay. Their reasons don’t end there.

Lack of awareness and auto-education

It’s no secret that the vast majority of public schools in the U.S. don’t require classes in practical life skills like filing taxes or car maintenance. This lack of auto-education shows up in the statistics, too. For example, more than 60% of US drivers don’t know how to change a flat tire.

While some people may not worry until the check-engine light comes on, over 61% of drivers admit someone else notices their car issues before they do. 

Financial concerns

Most families are living paycheck to paycheck. When prices soar, consumers tighten up their spending by only budgeting for the essentials. Compared to groceries, housing and utilities bills, car maintenance doesn’t top the list of priorities. A recent report shows that delayed car maintenance and repairs will set back drivers an extra $1,200 over the lifespan of their vehicle.

That’s the irony, isn’t it? Instead of shelling out a fraction of the money for routine maintenance or a repair right away, any delay will only lead to a bigger bill with potentially more issues to fix later.

Procrastination or a busy lifestyle

Today’s drivers are more on the go than ever. From juggling work and family responsibilities to personal appointments, financial affairs and a social life, there are only so many hours in a day to do everything we need to do. 

Unfortunately, more than 87% of drivers procrastinate on car maintenance. Some cite simply not having enough time, while others claim they can’t afford to sit in an auto shop waiting room for half the day.

Infrequent car usage (and other justifications)

It’s easy to think that when you don’t drive a vehicle, that its maintenance doesn’t need to be a top priority. What many drivers may not know is that when cars aren’t driven, tire pressure deflates, car batteries can lose their charge, keeping a near-empty fuel tank can draw moisture and so on.

The justifications don’t end there. Drivers will also avoid a car repair when they think it isn’t an emergency or when they don’t have a mechanic they can trust.

What are the benefits of maintaining your vehicle?

You probably already know the benefits of car maintenance, and the following are things you can inform your customers about whenever and wherever possible.

Ensure car is safe and reliable

Drivers need to know routine vehicle maintenance will keep their cars in better working order. Driver and passenger safety top the list of benefits. Whereas, when a car owner neglects regular maintenance, they could experience a malfunction when driving, an accident or a breakdown. With precious cargo on board, keeping on top of car maintenance is a non-negotiable for their safety and their peace of mind, 

Prevent costly repairs

We like to think of putting off car maintenance as similar to avoiding dental checkups. If drivers put off either, they’re more likely to find major, more cost-heavy issues down the road. What could begin as an easily-fixable alignment issue could end up with the driver needing a full set of tires in the end.

Extend the lifespan of a vehicle

According to a recent report from SP&P Global Mobility, the average lifespan of a vehicle has increased to 12.2 years. Regular maintenance under the hood and on the exterior will give them a stronger chance at getting as many years out of their vehicle as possible.

How can you get customers in for necessary maintenance?

Accessible auto-education, regular reminders and offering incentives are all effective ways to get your customers in for routine maintenance. You can use UPshow CONNECT to power your on-premise digital screens with all of this and more—creating an elevated customer experience they’ll drive back for.

Strategies to get people in for car maintenance

With driver safety (and finances) on the line, you need a clear game plan to show your customers why it’s vital to keep up with car maintenance and timely repairs. UPshow CONNECT for the automotive industry will outfit your screens with the logistical, educational and entertaining content drivers need to grasp how their personal safety ties to car upkeep. Plus, you’ll get some fantastic marketing opportunities out of it.

Remind them while they’re already waiting for repairs

Has a client rolled in with a flat tire? If they aren’t due for full-service maintenance for another two months, your best bet is to remind them while they’re there. This is best done in the waiting room, as this is the main point of contact customers will have with your shop.

You can use UPshow’s fixed panel and multipanel displays to keep critical announcements and reminders on-screen, while also playing educational and entertaining content such as:

  • Short videos on easy DIY car upkeep
  • Step-by-step car maintenance guides via Canva integration
  • Announcements about on-site discounts for customers who schedule their next car maintenance
  • Seasonal car-care reminders, such as winter tire requirements
  • Car maintenance trivia to engage and educate customers while they wait
  • Sales displays for common car maintenance products they can purchase on site, like oil and coolant

Provide an annual car maintenance checklist

You can use your digital screens to display vehicle maintenance and safety information your customers can benefit from while they wait. Keeping an annual car maintenance checklist accessible on-screen can make them more aware of what their vehicles need to run safely for as long as possible.

With UPshow CONNECT’s content creation and campaign management tools, it’s easy to generate educational content focused on car maintenance and more. It’s up to you how long you want to display this content on a screen-by-screen basis.

Offer a discount on car maintenance through a QR code

In today’s economy, your customers will appreciate a discount on their next car maintenance. By doing this, you’re incentivizing their safety and showing them that you’re willing to reduce your fees to ensure their safety.

Easily link your customers to a car maintenance discount they can access on their devices via QR-code technology. You’ll enjoy insights and analytics that track their engagement to determine if you’ll need to adjust your offer, and more.

Your customers need a mechanic who cares. UPshow CONNECT can help show that

A well-maintained vehicle is a safer vehicle that has a better chance at a longer life span. Reminding and educating your customers about regular car maintenance are just a few ways UPshow CONNECT will help you prioritize their safety.

Contact UPshow for a custom demo and show customers that your auto shop is the one they can trust.

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