AAA Survey Says a Quarter of All Americans Can't Pay For Major Car Repair

By Sam Grossman | August 04, 2011
The brutal state of the economy has greatly affected people and the way they live their lives. This shouldn't be a shock to anyone, but what is shocking is what AAA recently found by conducting a survey asking people whether or not they could afford a $1,000 or $2,000 car repair, and if they would put it off because of the state of the economy. The results reveal just how much the economy has affected people's maintenance habits. According to the survey, one in four American drivers is neglecting major car repairs, while also keeping older vehicles to avoid the high prices that come with purchasing a new model. The same people that neglect major car repairs admit they could not pay for a car repair of $2,000 if they had to today. AAA's survey also revealed one in eight would be unable to pay for a repair bill of $1,000.
The avoidance of repairing their vehicle is only making matters worse."The fact that motorists are delaying maintenance on their cars in the current economy is not surprising," said the Automobile Club of Southern California's AAA-Approved Auto Repair Program Development Manager Dave Skaien. "But what they may not realize is that there's a direct correlation between poorly maintained cars and big repair bills." The more expensive repairs are the result of people ignoring smaller issues that should be taken care of while they are minor before they become major. Repairing or replacing a belt, battery, or tire could cost $200 or $2,000, depending on how long it is ignored, and how much damage it creates. The survey also asked those drivers that could afford to pay the $2,000 and $1,000 repair bill how they could pay it. The results were all over the board. 38 percent could pay a $2,000 repair bill with funds from their saving account, 20 percent could pay with credit card, and 11 percent said they would have to borrow money from friends, family, retirement, or home equity. As far as paying the $1,000 repair bill, 46 percent said they could use savings, 22 percent could use credit card, and 14 percent would need to borrow from friends, family, retirement, or home equity. Note that 3 percent more would have to borrow from friends, family, etc. for the $1,000 repair than the $2,000 one. Source: AAA