Americans are putting the brakes on vehicle servicing and repairs

Four-in-ten (39%) vehicle owners have delayed expected vehicle servicing or repairs as a result of COVID-19.  That number is higher among Millennials (45%) and Gen X (42%), and lowest among Baby Boomers (26%).

The primary reason for this delay is not the lack of driving (24%) or not being able to spend the money (29%), but adhering to social distancing (50%) and not feeling comfortable given the COVID-19 virus (43%).

The percent of vehicle owners avoiding going to a vehicle repair facility (39%) is very similar to the number avoiding going to the doctor’s office or hospital (36%), and lower than other places such as coffee shops (52%), retail stores (61%), and restaurants (66%).  The only places fewer are avoiding are grocery stores (22%) and pharmacies (19%).

The most commonly delayed service item is the oil change (61%).  Fewer than one-in-three put off other routine maintenance services and fewer than two-in-ten put off a major repair.

Approximately one-in-ten (13%) vehicle owners took their vehicle in for service or repair during the past month.  Most (89%) of them were able to take it to their typical facility.  Among those who did venture to a vehicle servicing facility:

  • 17% felt the social distancing and cleaning standards there were “too little”,
  • 79% felt they were “just right, and
  • only 4% felt they were “too much”.

The implication for service centers nationwide is that while routine maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotation, may be on hold due to due to social distance and concerns about Covid-19, consumers are not avoiding service centers as much as they are other venues like coffee shops, restaurants and retail stores.  This may signal a quick recovery once stay-at-home orders are lifted.

This vehicle servicing survey was conducted online from April 27-28 among a nationally representative sample of 1,031 U.S. adults. Other data from Wave 8 of The Harris Poll COVID-19 Tracker, conducted online on April 18-20, 2020 among a nationally representative sample of 2,029 U.S. adults.