Australia’s love affair with cars knows no bounds. The latest census on car ownership from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals a record number of new cars are being sold and suggests that even in the face of record low wages growth, Australian’s are still willing to splurge when it comes to buying a new car.
But what happens when the novelty of a new car wears off? A survey of 700 Australians by Sparesbox, found that while we rely on our cars, we don’t all love looking after them.
The car is a big part of every Australian’s work day, with more than 2/3 of Australians driving to work, averaging more than 12,000kms on the road in a year. However, most of us pay limited attention to looking after our cars. Most Australians wash their cars less than once a month, 8% of us claim that we never wash our cars and only 24% of people know how to change an oil filter.
The survey selected 700 Australians at random and asked them a range of questions about how they use their cars, and what they know about maintaining them.
Across the country, South Australian’s have the cleanest cars, on average washing them at least once a month, with ACT and Tasmania having the dirtiest cars.
The dirtiest car owners drove utes and trucks, washing their cars on average once every three months. While the cleanest car owners drove 4x4s, washing their cars on average once every week or more.
The survey also asked how Australians maintain their cars and their understanding of basic car maintenance. On average, 53% of the population claim to be able to change a tyre, while only 24% claim to be able to change an oil filter.
Leon Saliba, founder and CEO of Sparesbox said “There is a group of commuters that see their cars as workhorses without giving them much needed care. If they wash their cars, it is less than once a month, and they don’t know much about regular oil and filter changes. However, regular maintenance of a vehicle can improve fuel efficiencies on average by 2%, and can improve the life of your engine”
31% of Australians rated their car knowledge as very low, with 45 – 54 year olds the least likely to know how to maintain a car, or change a tyre, and over 65s most likely to know.
The survey also found that the top two issues people have with traditional mechanics are price and transparency of service.
Leon said, “consumers are told we have to take new cars to the authorised dealer for everything, even though that isn’t the case. New car manufacturers and authorised dealers generally squeeze a massive 64% profit margin on servicing so they have every incentive to limit competition from independent mechanics and information from consumers. The ACCC is currently looking at how consumers are treated on this issue, as complaints about new car manufacturers have risen to more than 10,000 over the past two years”,
“New cars are now effectively computers on wheels. Car manufacturers generally own and control the technical information required to repair and service new cars, but now they’re required to share and disclose all info to independent mechanics.”
Leon continued, “In relation to general servicing, motor vehicle dealers are entitled to insist that any servicing performed on cars they sell is carried out by qualified staff, according to the manufacturers’ specifications, and using genuine or appropriate quality parts where required. Provided these conditions are met, regardless of where you choose to get your car serviced, your warranty will remain intact. So, shop smart and shop around.”
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