“I’m having problems with my car. It started with the clutch and it’s running rough now,” says Carolyn Hoyt. Like many people, she brings her car to a mechanic when she notices something wrong.Even though she’d like to buy a new car, she’s holding out.
“I’m basically not wanting to buy a new car even though the prices are good. So, I’m seeing if I can get it fixed enough so it’ll last at least another six to nine months,” says Hoyt.
Until recently, people treated cars more like a trendy accessory than a mode of transportation, trading them in every three to five years. But now, people are keeping their cars longer and choosing to maintain them, leaving dealerships quiet and mechanic shops busy. Ken Williamson is the owner of Palms to Pines Automotive in Palm Desert.
“The air conditioning goes out, they need a new compressor and parts and labor we’re talking $1,000. ‘I can’t do it, I’ll go get a new car.’ They’re back a week later and say, ‘Let’s go ahead and do it.’ It happens quite a bit,” Williamson says.
Some of the easiest and inexpensive things you can do to keep your car running well are regular oil changes. Your car’s manual tells you when and how often it’s needed. Also, make sure you check all the belts and fluids under the hood, those need to be changed. All this, when done routinely, will make your car last a whole lot longer.
Websites like Driverside and Repair Pal are popping up as well. They help you keep up with car maintenance and avoid overpaying for repairs. Just put in your car’s year, make and model, your zip code and it will give you not only an estimate for what you need, but also locations of mechanic shops nearby. As for Hoyt, she says there is an upside to having an older car.
“Mine is paid off, so I really don’t look forward to a new payment…just trying to make it last as long as I can,” says Hoyt.