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IMR Inc. Releases New Insight on Delayed Maintenance

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IMR Inc. says it surveys 25,000 households each quarter about how they have serviced and maintained the vehicles in their household, and classifies delayed maintenance as maintenance and repairs that vehicle owners know their vehicle(s) need but intentionally have not yet been performed.

Out of households surveyed in Q1 of 2020, 17.6% reported that they had delayed vehicle repairs or maintenance, while in Q2 households reported that 20.1% had delayed maintenance on their vehicles.

IMR Inc. has been tracking delayed maintenance trends since 2016. Since 2016, the trend has slowly declined quarter over quarter from nearly 23.6% of household reporting delaying one or more vehicle service repairs to the 17.6% reported in Q1 of this year, IMR says. This downward trend was interrupted in Q2 of 2020 due to shelter-in-place orders and fewer miles driven.

IMR Inc. cites Experian Automotive, which reports that as of the March 30, 2020 Q1 U.S. VIO data released, the aftermarket “sweet spot,” vehicles between 6 and 12 years old, grew year over year for the first time in over five years. Experian Automotive expects continued growth amongst that vehicle cohort over the next four-plus years. This suggests that there will be ample vehicle repair opportunity in the long term for the aftermarket, IMR says. In the short term, there will also be more repair opportunities as households with vehicles with delayed maintenance are reported a rate of 19.7% in Q2 2020, up from 16.8% in Q1 2020.


IMR Inc.’s Delayed Maintenance Tracking Study monitors 100 parts, services and chemicals. In Q2 2020, the top 10 categories of delayed maintenance/repair, in order of highest percentage to lowest are:

  1. Oil changed
  2. Tires (new)
  3. Battery (car)
  4. Scheduled maintenance
  5. Brake shoes/pads
  6. Brake discs/rotors/drums
  7. Air filter
  8. Other collision, paint or body repairs
  9. Major/minor paint work
  10. Wiper blades

For households that plan on having delayed service or repair performed on their vehicles, 45.8% plan to come to market within the next two months, IMR says. Historically, the top three reasons for delaying maintenance have not changed: “cost of repair is too much,” “couldn’t find a convenient time” and “repair isn’t important to the overall drivability of this vehicle,” but now 16.3% of those surveyed reported “other” as their reason for delay, of which 59% cited their reason was in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unemployment, miles driven, consumer confidence and other factors affect how consumers behave when making choices about maintaining their vehicles, IMR says.

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