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Americans' aging autos

May 09, 2014

From 2008 through 2012, Consumer Expenditure Survey data show that households held on to their vehicles longer, increasing the average age of Americans’ cars, trucks, SUVs and vans. The Consumer Expenditure Survey also collects households’ spending on vehicle maintenance and repairs. This interactive chart allows users to explore vehicle maintenance and repair expenditures as these vehicles age. The expected expenditure amounts represent what owners of one or more vehicles might expect to pay for maintenance and repairs depending on the age of the vehicle.

In 2012, households owning vehicles less than 5 years old reported the lowest maintenance and repair costs per vehicle. Households with vehicles averaging 6–15 years of age paid $151 more per vehicle per year, on average, for maintenance and repair than did households with newer vehicles. Interestingly, average maintenance and repair expenditures per vehicle dropped 16 percent as the average age of the vehicle increased to 16-20 years and then dropped by another 5 percent as the vehicle’s age went beyond 20 years, before rising slightly as the age of the vehicle reached 26 years or older.

Maintenance and repair expenditures by average vehicle age, 2012
SeriesExpenditureNew-5 yrs6-10 yrs11-15 yrs16-20 yrs21-25 yrs26+ yrsMean

1-yr avg Estimate

Coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and other additives$1.10$1.93$3.80$5.48$5.45$4.45$3.11

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and other additives2%4%7%10%11%10%6%

1-yr avg Estimate

Tires - purchased, replaced, installed101.75122.3792.0569.8946.8843.0298.31

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Tires - purchased, replaced, installed7%11%11%10%8%9%10%

1-yr avg Estimate

Parts, equipment, and accessories15.3224.1232.1934.0729.93132.2729.98

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Parts, equipment, and accessories5%9%12%13%14%16%10%

1-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle audio & video equipment2.752.543.251.10.572.142.5

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle audio & video equipmentLess than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%Less than 0.5%

1-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle products and cleaning services10.858.725.643.873.424.146.99

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. Vehicle products and cleaning services8%8%6%5%4%5%7%

1-yr avg Estimate

Body work and painting29.0418.1716.4514.8722.816.1118.53

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Body work and painting1%1%1%1%1%2%1%

1-yr avg Estimate

Clutch, transmission repair8.6621.727.0816.1331.110.5221.35

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Clutch, transmission repairLess than 0.5%1%1%1%3%1%1%

1-yr avg Estimate

Brake work, including adjustments25.4848.7544.8129.5830.6617.0240.82

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Brake work, including adjustments3%7%7%6%6%6%6%

1-yr avg Estimate

Repair to steering or front-end6.6517.3516.5116.9611.5417.9115.62

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair to steering or front-endLess than 0.5%2%2%2%1%1%2%

1-yr avg Estimate

Repair to engine cooling system3.788.9921.4310.3114.0111.812.83

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair to engine cooling system1%1%3%2%2%3%2%

1-yr avg Estimate

Motor tune-up30.3337.8142.2532.6933.5723.7237.18

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Motor tune-up4%6%6%5%5%4%5%

1-yr avg Estimate

Lube, oil change, and oil filters63.7565.5450.3236.2130.1625.3654.11

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Lube, oil change, and oil filters41%47%40%31%28%24%41%

1-yr avg Estimate

Front-end alignment, wheel balance and rotation13.2115.6012.2911.1511.084.5213.22

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Front-end alignment, wheel balance and rotation4%4%4%3%3%2%4%

1-yr avg Estimate

Shock absorber, replacement0.624.736.451.967.971.374.51

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Shock absorber, replacementLess than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%Less than 0.5%1%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%

1-yr avg Estimate

Repair tires and other repair work25.9841.8732.8326.1431.9318.8434.16

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair tires and other repair work5%7%7%7%7%7%7%

1-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle air conditioning repair1.3814.9211.9713.475.477.1611.7

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle air conditioning repairLess than 0.5%2%2%2%1%2%2%

1-yr avg Estimate

Exhaust system repair1.626.7112.4910.434.454.98.34

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Exhaust system repairLess than 0.5%1%1%1%1%1%1%

1-yr avg Estimate

Electrical system repair2.2017.1523.5217.0313.4811.6317.22

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Electrical system repair1%3%3%3%3%3%3%

1-yr avg Estimate

Motor repair, replacement13.6839.8956.5469.4158.1681.8348.02

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Motor repair, replacement1%3%4%4%4%5%3%

1-yr avg Estimate

Auto repair service policy18.419.124.091.944.062.947.23

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Auto repair service policy1%1%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%

1-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle insurance795.37635.68549.38502.22446.48384.63593.91

1-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle insuranceN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

3-yr avg Estimate

Coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and other additives0.941.653.715.304.184.312.83

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and other additives2%4%8%11%10%11%6%

3-yr avg Estimate

Tires - purchased, replaced, installed88.75112.5484.2365.0157.6939.6591.13

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Tires - purchased, replaced, installed7%11%10%10%10%8%10%

3-yr avg Estimate

Parts, equipment, and accessories15.823.5129.2537.6633.2376.1627.77

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Parts, equipment, and accessories5%9%11%14%14%17%10%

3-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle audio & video equipment4.262.082.321.740.891.592.31

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle audio & video equipmentLess than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%Less than 0.5%

3-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle products and cleaning services9.597.084.183.252.362.625.70

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. Vehicle products and cleaning services7%7%5%4%4%4%6%

3-yr avg Estimate

Body work and painting21.3318.9816.114.1214.2813.0817.43

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Body work and painting1%1%1%1%1%1%1%

3-yr avg Estimate

Clutch, transmission repair5.4622.5227.0519.4619.0311.9921.14

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Clutch, transmission repairLess than 0.5%1%1%1%2%1%1%

3-yr avg Estimate

Brake work, including adjustments27.1249.7743.9333.5126.2616.8141.54

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Brake work, including adjustments3%7%7%6%5%5%6%

3-yr avg Estimate

Repair to steering or front-end4.6814.7117.2519.888.0513.1214.66

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair to steering or front-endLess than 0.5%2%2%2%1%1%2%

3-yr avg Estimate

Repair to engine cooling system4.7312.2320.7115.6413.149.9214.36

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair to engine cooling system1%2%3%3%2%3%2%

3-yr avg Estimate

Motor tune-up27.939.3037.0228.8327.6821.8435.06

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Motor tune-up4%6%6%5%5%5%5%

3-yr avg Estimate

Lube, oil change, and oil filters61.7460.6746.7335.0627.6121.5551.02

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Lube, oil change, and oil filters41%46%39%31%26%24%40%

3-yr avg Estimate

Front-end alignment, wheel balance and rotation11.7913.4313.4211.647.093.5712.52

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Front-end alignment, wheel balance and rotation4%4%4%3%2%2%4%

3-yr avg Estimate

Shock absorber, replacement0.854.475.353.543.110.604.05

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Shock absorber, replacementLess than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%1%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%

3-yr avg Estimate

Repair tires and other repair work27.837.7936.9331.3531.3524.8834.98

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair tires and other repair work6%8%7%7%7%6%7%

3-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle air conditioning repair3.9410.1911.7010.119.395.599.77

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle air conditioning repair1%1%2%2%1%2%1%

3-yr avg Estimate

Exhaust system repair2.515.9112.498.7710.187.768.11

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Exhaust system repairLess than 0.5%1%2%1%1%1%1%

3-yr avg Estimate

Electrical system repair7.4319.5824.7220.6120.8611.2819.72

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Electrical system repair1%3%3%3%4%3%3%

3-yr avg Estimate

Motor repair, replacement8.6540.655.7461.0454.8349.6344.88

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Motor repair, replacement1%3%4%4%4%4%3%

3-yr avg Estimate

Auto repair service policy23.4911.043.612.191.937.528.64

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Auto repair service policy1%1%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%

3-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle insurance771.52624.52531.11464.08409.49361.66577.89

3-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle insuranceN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

5-yr avg Estimate

Coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and other additives0.901.683.524.914.234.182.65

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and other additives2%4%8%11%10%12%6%

5-yr avg Estimate

Tires - purchased, replaced, installed85.55103.4377.8760.4455.744.2685.35

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Tires - purchased, replaced, installed8%10%10%9%9%8%10%

5-yr avg Estimate

Parts, equipment, and accessories14.8922.7927.8736.6536.5262.0326.27

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Parts, equipment, and accessories5%9%11%14%15%17%10%

5-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle audio & video equipment2.731.141.591.490.900.881.51

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle audio & video equipmentLess than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%

5-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle products and cleaning services8.676.313.862.982.222.315.26

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. Vehicle products and cleaning services7%6%5%4%4%4%5%

5-yr avg Estimate

Body work and painting21.8219.5415.0713.4915.0814.6117.54

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Body work and painting2%1%1%1%1%2%1%

5-yr avg Estimate

Clutch, transmission repair6.1022.1728.1619.6720.2518.3921.35

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Clutch, transmission repair1%1%2%1%2%2%1%

5-yr avg Estimate

Brake work, including adjustments28.1550.7842.7734.223.7820.741.78

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Brake work, including adjustments4%7%7%6%5%5%6%

5-yr avg Estimate

Repair to steering or front-end6.2414.4315.8117.158.8910.6313.78

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair to steering or front-end1%2%2%2%1%1%2%

5-yr avg Estimate

Repair to engine cooling system4.5612.7120.9516.4915.9012.3414.61

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair to engine cooling system1%2%3%3%2%3%2%

5-yr avg Estimate

Motor tune-up28.0537.9535.2227.6924.422.0533.75

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Motor tune-up5%6%6%5%5%5%5%

5-yr avg Estimate

Lube, oil change, and oil filters62.857.6844.3733.2226.9222.5749.59

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Lube, oil change, and oil filters44%46%38%31%26%24%40%

5-yr avg Estimate

Front-end alignment, wheel balance and rotation10.2712.211.719.386.103.8711.05

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Front-end alignment, wheel balance and rotation4%4%3%3%2%2%3%

5-yr avg Estimate

Shock absorber, replacement0.874.095.123.262.881.523.76

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Shock absorber, replacementLess than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%1%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%

5-yr avg Estimate

Repair tires and other repair work26.9939.7733.5731.5326.5923.3834.42

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair tires and other repair work6%8%7%7%6%6%7%

5-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle air conditioning repair2.799.2610.5210.258.854.218.77

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle air conditioning repairLess than 0.5%1%2%2%1%1%1%

5-yr avg Estimate

Exhaust system repair2.416.3811.178.339.288.157.64

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Exhaust system repairLess than 0.5%1%2%1%1%1%1%

5-yr avg Estimate

Electrical system repair7.2418.424.222.1821.9217.1919.19

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Electrical system repair1%3%3%3%3%3%3%

5-yr avg Estimate

Motor repair, replacement11.0242.5658.5354.5450.4646.8244.90

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Motor repair, replacement1%3%4%4%4%4%3%

5-yr avg Estimate

Auto repair service policy26.1910.583.651.983.767.989.26

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Auto repair service policy1%1%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%

5-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle insurance749.05626.19523.3456.18406.1370.53577.87

5-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle insuranceN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

10-yr avg Estimate

Coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and other additives0.871.623.144.203.944.042.32

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and other additives3%5%8%11%11%13%7%

10-yr avg Estimate

Tires - purchased, replaced, installed70.8883.8465.8152.4349.5243.7671.40

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Tires - purchased, replaced, installed7%11%10%9%10%9%10%

10-yr avg Estimate

Parts, equipment, and accessories14.0522.5728.8835.640.0656.625.64

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Parts, equipment, and accessories6%10%13%15%17%19%11%

10-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle audio & video equipment1.611.271.501.501.161.041.40

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle audio & video equipmentLess than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%

10-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle products and cleaning services4.853.822.521.91.541.993.31

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. Vehicle products and cleaning services4%4%3%3%3%3%3%

10-yr avg Estimate

Body work and painting21.8620.6217.1212.8415.0822.1018.85

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Body work and painting2%2%2%1%1%2%2%

10-yr avg Estimate

Clutch, transmission repair8.3425.0531.0123.7820.6320.7523.59

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Clutch, transmission repair1%2%2%2%2%2%2%

10-yr avg Estimate

Brake work, including adjustments26.4346.2539.4231.1123.8421.6538.27

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Brake work, including adjustments4%7%7%6%5%5%6%

10-yr avg Estimate

Repair to steering or front-end4.7312.915.6214.367.412.0912.27

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair to steering or front-end1%2%2%2%1%1%1%

10-yr avg Estimate

Repair to engine cooling system4.7413.6419.5215.4813.0612.3213.95

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair to engine cooling system1%2%3%3%3%2%2%

10-yr avg Estimate

Motor tune-up27.8936.2132.3925.4322.6823.5431.92

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Motor tune-up5%6%6%5%5%5%6%

10-yr avg Estimate

Lube, oil change, and oil filters57.8351.1539.0729.1123.3921.3644.95

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Lube, oil change, and oil filters45%45%37%30%26%25%40%

10-yr avg Estimate

Front-end alignment, wheel balance and rotation7.5510.229.727.485.735.259.09

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Front-end alignment, wheel balance and rotation3%3%3%3%2%2%3%

10-yr avg Estimate

Shock absorber, replacement0.983.414.342.592.401.723.11

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Shock absorber, replacementLess than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%

10-yr avg Estimate

Repair tires and other repair work26.7935.833.3427.7824.321.7732.11

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Repair tires and other repair work7%8%8%7%7%6%8%

10-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle air conditioning repair3.2710.3111.129.408.055.999.13

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle air conditioning repair1%1%2%1%1%1%1%

10-yr avg Estimate

Exhaust system repair2.486.8810.368.768.247.197.38

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Exhaust system repairLess than 0.5%1%2%2%2%2%1%

10-yr avg Estimate

Electrical system repair7.6518.7922.2819.5517.6813.2817.88

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Electrical system repair1%3%4%4%3%3%3%

10-yr avg Estimate

Motor repair, replacement17.0945.9456.5548.5348.5257.4444.77

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Motor repair, replacement1%3%4%4%4%4%3%

10-yr avg Estimate

Auto repair service policy17.318.153.231.542.885.037.31

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Auto repair service policy1%1%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%Less than 0.5%1%

10-yr avg Estimate

Vehicle insurance745.57625.88512.46441.97399.24356.11580.78

10-yr avg Frequency

Freq. of Vehicle insuranceN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Declining expenditures on routine maintenance, such as oil changes, tire repair or replacement, body work, brakework, front-end alignment, and vehicle cleaning, are associated with older vehicles. Motor tuneups, electrical system repairs, exhaust system repairs, engine cooling system repairs, and related fluid costs peak for vehicles in the 11- to 15-year age range and remain higher for vehicles older than 15 years. Of all expenditures, those for vehicle parts, equipment, and accessories increase most as vehicles age. Also, higher expenditures for motor repair and replacement are observed in vehicles 26 years and older. The higher expenditures associated with vehicles in that age range appear to be heavily influenced by owners of classic cars.

These data come from the Consumer Expenditure Survey program. The expenditure levels are not adjusted for changes in consumer prices. To learn more, see "Americans' aging autos" (HTML) (PDF), by Ryan Pfirrmann-Powell, Beyond the Numbers, May 2014.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Americans' aging autos on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140509.htm (visited August 21, 2014).

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