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More fixing of old cars, less buying of new cars

More fixing of old cars, less buying of new cars

By Mary Richards | Posted - Oct. 18, 2010 at 12:45 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Fewer people are buying new cars and are opting to fix their old one, instead.

At John Kruger Automotive at 301 W. 1600 South, owner John Kruger has noticed a couple things. Not only are people driving their old car longer, but they are even skimping on the repairs for that car.

"Before people wanted to keep their car in top running condition," he says. "So if they found something, they would fix everything, from a tire that's about to explode to a piece of chrome missing on a mirror. Now they'll probably leave the chrome alone; it's just a cosmetic thing."

Kruger says some people are even skimping on maintenance to try to save money.

"They come in and see their bill is going to be 500 bucks and they ask, ‘What can we take off of there?' Well, you don't have to do your transmission right now or you don't have to do your tune-up right now, but there are long-term repercussions for that," he says.

A recent R.L. Polk survey showed the average age of cars on the road is 10.2 years. That's up 21 percent in the past 21 years.

USA Today reports shares of places like AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts are near 52 week highs. They say the industry thinks that even when the economy recovers, people will hang on to their cars longer because now they know they can.

Kruger says he thinks a lot of that will happen, but there will be people who fall back into their old ways of wanting a new car.

"It's a heck of a lot cheaper to keep an old car running than go out and buy a new one," he says.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

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