Lang Aftermarket iReport: Changing automotive ‘do-it-yourself’ motivations

“Lang Marketing has been annually tracking four motivations that drive Do-It-Yourself (DIY) automotive work. This iReport focuses on DIY automotive repair and maintenance.”

— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport

Four Major Automotive DIY Motivations

Do-It-Yourself automotive activity in the U.S. is driven by four factors: Saving Money, Job Done Right, Enjoyment, and Convenience. This analysis focuses on vehicle repair and maintenance and does not include vehicle modification (which has its own motivational priorities).

Saving Money is Tops

The strongest factor driving DIY automotive repair is Saving Money. Over half, 51%, of DIYers reported that Saving Money is the most important reason for performing their own car and light truck repair.

Automotive Do-It-Yourselfers can Save Money in two ways. First, automotive parts can be purchased by DIYers at lower prices than what Service Outlets charge consumers for parts.

Second, automotive DIYers save the cost of technicians diagnosing what is wrong with their vehicle and installing parts (Purchased Service).

Job Done Right is Second

One-fifth of Do-It-Yourselfers, 20%, conduct automotive and maintenance to be certain that the Job is Done Right.

Second in strength, this motivation suggests that some Do-It-Yourselfers lack confidence in technicians and believe that they do not always perform a complete or adequate repair job.

Enjoyment Ranks Third

Enjoyment ranks third, at 15%, as a motivation for Do-It-Yourself automotive work. Enjoyment edged out Convenience (during 2016) as the third most important reason for performing car and light truck DIY repairs.

While they represent a relatively small segment of Do-It-Yourselfers, enthusiasts (those who enjoy automotive DIY work) generate a larger share of automotive product purchases than what might be expected based on the number and scope of the automotive repair jobs they perform.

DIYers who enjoy conducting automotive repair generally have greater automotive knowledge then other automotive DIYers and often tackle larger jobs and conduct automotive repair more frequently.

Convenience is Fourth

Convenience ranks fourth as a reason why DIYers repair and maintain their vehicles, with a 14% score.

As the Repair Outlet population decreases and the number of vehicles per service bay soars, technician repair is becoming less convenient for many consumers, causing some to do their own automotive repair and maintenance (at least some jobs).

Evolving Do-It-Yourself Motivation

The strength of motivations influencing automotive DIYers is shifting, as the age profile of consumers’ changes, vehicles become more complex, and economic conditions ebb and flow.

Saving Money increased from 44% to 51% over the past five years (2013 to 2018) as the primary motivation influencing Do-It-Yourselfers to repair and maintain their cars and light trucks. This reflects the economic strain that many Americans face today.

Job Done Right slipped from 26% to 20% as a primary motivation among automotive DIYers between 2013 and 2018; while Enjoyment grew in importance from 14% to 15%.

Convenience slipped from 16% in 2013 as a primary motivation among automotive DIYers to 14% during 2019.

Six Major Takeaways

  • Four motivational factors drive Do-It-Yourselfers to perform automotive repair and maintenance: Saving Money, Job Done Right, Enjoyment, and Convenience.
  • Saving Money is the primary motivation for more than half of Do-It-Yourselfers, 51%, to perform automotive repair and maintenance themselves.
  • One-fifth of automotive Do-It-Yourselfers conduct automotive repair and maintenance to make sure the Job Is Done Right.
  • Enjoyment of automotive repair edged out Convenience several years ago as the third most important factor influencing Do-It-Yourselfers, at 15%, to perform car and light truck maintenance and repair.
  • With fewer Repair Outlets and the number of vehicles per bay increasing, Convenience ranks fourth in motivation, 14%, among automotive Do-It-Yourselfer.
  • Saving Money and Enjoyment both increased their importance to automotive Do-It-Yourselfers over the past five years (2013 to 2018); while Job Done Right and Convenience both slipped in significance as a primary reason for performing automotive DIY repair.

Copyright 2019 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.

NOTESpecial thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.