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Aussies turn to home servicing

The good oil: A new survey has found that a quarter of Australian women are servicing their cars at home.

Women join move to home car service as economy bites motoring budgets

General News logo15 Nov 2011

By DAVID HASSALL

ONE in three Australians are performing basic car servicing at home as a way to save money in the current economic climate, according to an independent consumer survey.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, women are almost as likely as men to be jumping under the bonnet and performing basic servicing such as changing the oil and replacing oil and air filters.

The survey – involving 2091 customers who have booked a car service in the last two years – was conducted by Colmar Brunton and commissioned by customer satisfaction ratings agency Canstar Blue.

It also found that 39 per cent of people decided on the timing of their next service according to the problems they needed to have fixed rather than the prescribed service intervals set by car manufacturers.

“The survey showed one in three respondents have changed their own car oil, filters or air cleaners instead of relying on the professionals as a way to keep their costs down,” said Canstar Blue manager Rebecca Logan.

“This is one way Australian consumers are showing caution given the weak consumer sentiment, household debt levels and global economic concerns currently impacting the Australian market.

“An impressively high 26 per cent of females bucked stereotypes by performing basic car servicing at home compared with 38 per cent of males surveyed.

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“Interestingly, Generation Y respondents were the most likely to take matters into their own hands where basic car servicing was involved (50 per cent) compared with 38 per cent of Baby Boomers and 26 per cent of Generation X respondents.”

Ms Logan said a number of independent service centres were rated in the survey, with Ultratune finishing clearly on top, scoring maximum five-star ratings for price, time taken, parts costs, warranty support and effectiveness.

She said the Australian-owned chain came out ahead of Kmart Tyre & Auto Service, Goodyear Autocare and Midas for overall customer satisfaction.

“Ultra Tune’s business model revolves around fixed price servicing and the company is clearly delivering for Australian consumers, with its customers scoring the brand top marks in every category,” said Ms Logan.

In the UK, a study by Bosch Car Service has found that more than two-thirds of women are still passing on the responsibility of car servicing to male counterparts – mainly husbands, boyfriends and fathers.

And, although the overall feeling among consumers about car servicing was positive, the result for women was much lower than for men.

Bosch Car Service concept manager Howard Price said that, while neither men nor women expressed a particular ‘dread’ towards car servicing when asked to compare it with any other household chores, a significantly greater number of women (35 per cent) said that they were not confident that they would get a good experience from a car service, as opposed to just 24 per cent of men.

“It is clear that there is still a feeling of discomfort among women drivers towards taking their cars in for a service, which could be why they are leaving it up to men,” he said.

“The majority of customers in general (70 per cent) already feel confident that they will get a good experience of getting a car serviced, and this is good news for the profession.

“However, there are still discrepancies according to gender and age car servicing professionals need to continue to do all they can to build the same levels of confidence among all customers, regardless of whether they are male or female, old or young.”

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