Today’s cost-conscious Americans have decided to keep cars longer than they have in the past, which means more repairs and maintenance for do-it-yourself or do-it-for-me consumers, according to automotive aftermarket research conducted by The NPD Group.  According to NPD’s 2011 Aftermarket Outlook Survey, 52% of consumers intend to keep their car 5 years or more, and even consumers with vehicles 10 years old or more will keep their cars another 5 years, on average.

The NPD 2011 Aftermarket Outlook Survey findings also show that to keep their vehicles on the road, the majority of consumers are expecting repairs or maintenance work in 2011. Of those consumers expecting car repairs in 2011, more than 61% said they will have a professional do all the work. This percentage is up from 56% a year ago. Of those DIY consumers, 34% said they expect their DIY activity to be the same or less in 2011 than it was in 2010.

To learn how to repair their cars, consumers have historically turned to friends and family, repair manuals and mechanics, but today the Internet is growing as a how-to source for repairs. NPD’s aftermarket survey finds that 42% of the outlook survey respondents who plan major repairs in 2011 say they would look to the Internet, including YouTube and social media outlets, to learn to do the work. Nearly the same percentage will use the repair manual.

“The new reality is that consumers are keeping their cars longer and those cars will need repairs and maintenance,” says David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD’s aftermarket unit. “For companies providing professional repair and maintenance work, this presents a strong growth opportunity. For companies seeking ways to assist consumers and promote DIY activity, the Internet will be an important tool in 2011.”

[Source:  “2011 Aftermarket Outlook Survey.” The NPD Group. 2 Feb. 2011. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.]