Drivers today are holding onto their cars much longer than in years past. In fact, according to a 2016 IHS Automotive Study, the average age of cars on the road in the US is 11.6 years, and likely to reach 11.7 years in 2019. While there are plenty of positive reasons for this trend, this shift to longer-term ownership means the way people maintain cars must change as well. To keep vehicles running smoothly and safely on the roads, drivers of aging cars must commit to a higher level of auto maintenance than that required with newer automobiles. 

Reasons for this Trend

As cars become more reliable, it makes sense that owners are postponing their replacement. Further, IHS study statistics reflect a decrease in American car purchases following the Great Recession, impacting sales significantly.[1] Additionally, millennial purchasing behavior is different from that of Gen-X; the younger generation prefers to do a lot of research and deliberating before they buy.2 

Safety Concerns

While automotive manufacturing quality has risen in general over the last several decades, safety is still a major concern with aging vehicles. Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book, argues that safety is a serious issue with older cars, citing only single (or no) airbags in some automobiles as one example. She named additional safety features available in newer cars such as lane control, adaptive cruise control, and infant seat connectors.[2] With car manufacturing technology progressing quickly, drivers of older cars are missing out on the diversity of advanced safety equipment offered in today’s models. 

Car Repair Needs

IHS, who began tracking these numbers in 2002, also reported that older vehicles, those 16-plus years old, are the fastest growing group of cars on the road today, and this number is expected to balloon by 30% over the next three years. For cars of this particularly advanced age, car repairs become more common, transmuting to an increase in the importance of preventive maintenance. If drivers stay vigilant, this isn’t completely bad news. In fact, this age drift translates to business opportunities for those in the auto repair industry. Mark Seng, global auto aftermarket practice director at IHS Markit explains that this reality creates a “new business pipeline for the aftermarket,” making a huge impact on the need for quality auto parts.[3] 

Helpful Advice from Mighty Auto Parts

The bottom line is that drivers of older vehicles must commit to car ownership in a way that differs some from that of new car owners. The key difference is the need for consistent vehicle maintenance. Drivers need to have their cars evaluated regularly at their local auto part service provider—one they can trust.

At Mighty Auto Parts, the quality parts, service, and technical support necessary to maintain older automobiles is available nearby, with more than 100 distributors nationwide. Our goal is to function as a true partner with auto parts wholesalers and distributors to help them provide exceptional products and services to drivers on the American roads.

Learn more about the ways in which Mighty Auto Parts can keep older cars running strong for years to come.

[1] https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2018/08/14/Quote-Day-Time-Raise-Taxes

[2] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/28/car-owners-are-holding-their-vehicles-for-longer-which-is-both-good-and-bad.html

[3] http://www.autonews.com/article/20161122/RETAIL05/161129973/average-age-of-vehicles-on-road-hits-11.6-years