Honeywell Survey Finds Majority of Americans Taking Car Care Into Their Own Hands
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Honeywell Survey Finds Majority of Americans Taking Car Care Into Their Own Hands

Economy is having major impact on vehicle maintenance habits.

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In the reversal of what has been nearly a decade-long trend, many Americans are now reporting that they are tackling more of their own vehicle maintenance, according to a new study conducted for Honeywell.

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The survey finds more than half (51 percent) of American vehicle owners are rolling up their sleeves and handling more car care on their own versus a year ago. And an overwhelming majority (89 percent) of these new-found "DIYers" admit they didn’t really perform these tasks before — they typically hired a professional.

"People are looking for ways to save money and taking routine vehicle maintenance into their own hands is a great place to start," says Jim Brown, director of communications at Honeywell Consumer Products Group, maker of FRAM, Prestone and Autolite products. "Where in recent years folks might just add wiper fluid or change the air filter, they are now tackling more difficult tasks, just as generations before them used to do."

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Sixty-one percent are topping off or changing the antifreeze, more than half (54 percent) are changing the oil filter; and over one in four (32 percent) report changing their spark plugs.

"With access to the Internet and brands like FRAM, Prestone and Autolite providing downloadable videos and tutorials on their Web sites, it’s much easier now for motorists to learn how to do these things," adds Brown.

But while certain activities are becoming more common-place in residential garages across the country, there’s a disturbing trend at play here too, says Brown: the economy has driven more than half (51 percent) of the country’s car owners to take care of only the bare minimum on their vehicles and more than one in five (21 percent) to avoid service altogether, according to the study, which was conducted by Kelton Research, a leading national public opinion company.

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Furthermore, not enough folks are making smart investments — including purchasing higher-quality maintenance products and handling big ticket repairs.

"It’s great to see some motorists taking on more themselves, however, some consumers are making poor decisions when it comes to their vehicle’s care," said Jay Buckley, technical training manager for FRAM, Prestone and Autolite, and a certified Master Mechanic. "This can be catastrophic for a family struggling to get by."

"A decision to avoid maintenance could mean the difference between spending $7 on a gallon of antifreeze to top off your cooling system versus paying upward of $1,000 for a blown head gasket if you consistently run low," adds Buckley.

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