In the U.S., the average passenger car or light truck is…
- 6 years old
- 9 years old
- 12 years old
- 15 years old
The correct answer is C. According to IHS Automotive, the average age of all light vehicles on the road in the United States is 11.5 years, a record high.
You might want to blame the recession for the higher fleet age. And while it’s true that the economy played a role, other factors were also involved.
Between 2008 and 2009, new vehicle sales plummeted 40% and sales remained sluggish for several years thereafter.
But this was followed by an uptick in consumer confidence. By 2013, people started buying cars again. Auto sales recovered to pre-recession levels; Americans now purchase 17 million cars and light trucks per year.
So why, despite this influx of new vehicles, has the average age increased? The answer is that cars remain in service longer; fewer are being scrapped.
Think of it this way: Your neighbor parks a sparkling new car in the garage AND keeps the trusty 2003 pick-up in the driveway. Or sells the old vehicle on craigslist. Or gifts it to a niece or nephew.
The average length of new car ownership is 6.5 years. This figure has increased by 25 months since 2006. Used cars are owned for an average of 5.25 years, which is also two years longer than a decade ago.
Mark Seng, global after-market practice leader at IHS Automotive, explains that automakers have substantially improved the quality and reliability of their products. As a result, he says, “Vehicles are simply lasting longer than ever before… There’s quite a bit of evidence of people hanging onto them longer.”
The extended lifespan of “older” old cars is noteworthy. On the road today are 44 million cars 16 to 24 years old; in 2002, there were 26 million. The number of cars 25 years of age or older is 14 million, almost double the count of 8 million in 2002.
We’ve been in business since 1984, so we admit that we might be biased. Hillside Auto Repair places a high value on longevity and durability — in customer relationships, as well as cars.
Over the years, we’ve witnessed dramatic improvements in automotive engineering. Innovations such as fuel injection, anti-lock brakes and on-board diagnostics have significantly enhanced vehicle safety, efficiency and dependability.
Yes, modern cars are built to last a long time. But living to a ripe old age requires regular maintenance. Mechanical systems are the heart and soul of your car; take good care of them. Follow the service recommendations in your owner’s manual. Skipping inspections or neglecting oil changes can result in expensive repairs, especially in an older vehicle.
If you want to keep your car running for 12 years, 16 years or 25 years, remember that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Regular maintenance is the key to a longer, healthier life. It also saves you money. Lower your total cost of ownership; bring your car to Hillside Auto Repair for service.