"If you're down and confused - and you don't know who you're talkin' to," then talk to us at Anderson's Autobody about making your vehicle last as long as possible. Try a minimum of 12 years and even 20. Our auto techs and refinishing experts have over 200 combined years of experience and have lived through recessions, 9/11, housing crises and pandemic shutdowns. We know a thing or two about vehicle maintenance strategies to prevent an avoidable big car payment.
Right now is NOT the best time to buy new or used vehicles - unless you have no other choice. That's okay. Anderson's and our partners offer great exterior body and paint protection to help your vehicle's structural exterior and paint last longer than at any time in history. We also have a great local partner to repair interior upholstery (even torn-up seats from bear attacks - really!)
Record Age of 12.5-Year Vehicles on U.S. Roads
Did you know that the average age of consumer trucks, SUVs, and cars on U.S. roads is now a record high of 12.5 years old? That's not because people drive junk, either. It's because today's vehicles last longer than ever. Plus, owners are smarter about how to maintain them. A recent study from S&P Global Mobility, released three days ago, says that's three months longer than 2022. Twenty years ago, our vehicles only lasted about 9.7 years.
According to Todd Campau at S&P, the repair-to-buy equation changed. "Even with rising auto repair costs, it's still typically more cost-effective to fix an older vehicle than to spring for a purchase," he says. "And while 12.5 is now the average vehicle age which has been edging up since 2019, more vehicles are staying on the road for 20 years or more - sometimes with three or four successive owners."
Today, nearly 122 million vehicles on the road are more than a dozen years old, and S&P predicts that the number of older vehicles will keep growing for another five years. At least until 2028.
Invest in Paint and Exterior Protection
Gone are the days of freaking out when your vehicle hits 100,000 on the odometer. Many vehicles go well into the 200,000-mile range. It's less expensive for a depreciating asset - like a vehicle - to repair if possible. It's good for the environment. It's good for your pocketbook.
"There are so many new and affordable protection technologies these days, including spray-in bedliner, paintless dent repair, and paint protection films like Clear Bra and 3M Scotchgard," says Bob Anderson, business owner. "We offer those services here. They are less expensive to apply than letting your car take a beating with rock chips and road salt. Do that plus regular mechanical maintenance, read the digital dashboard properly to prevent accidents, and keep it out of the hot sun and away from tree sap in the summer. All these proactive habits add years to your vehicle and increase the resale value."
It's Supply and Demand - Mostly Microchips and High Loan Rates
Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck three years ago, the average new vehicle rocketed 24% to nearly $48,000 as of April 2023, according to Edmunds.com. Add to that the Federal Reserve's aggressive interest rate hikes to fight inflation, and you're paying 7% or higher on an average new car loan. It's supply and demand. There is simply an ongoing shortage of vehicles because 2020 triggered a worldwide shortage of computer chips (there are about 1000 in the average car - 2000 in a new truck). Microchips are the vital components that run everything from radios to gas pedals to transmissions.
Fret not. We live in beautiful Idaho with 62% public lands and 14% protected wilderness! We care about the land, air, and water by definition and work hard to conserve our environment. Driving a vehicle longer and just taking better care of it is both financially smart and environmentally responsible. We at Anderson's will keep providing you tips on how to "love the one you're with" for the next several months as we fully adjust to the new normal.
What Can I Do Right Now?
Start by setting an annual budget for auto maintenance and repairs. Be proactive because maintenance investments are just a reality - just like gas money is. Also, talk to your auto insurance agent to make sure you have the right level of collision, comprehensive and liability insurance - you want to make sure you have enough to get the vehicle repaired especially if the other driver does not.
Next time, you're in to repair a small or big fender bender, just ask what else you can do to protect the new paint. Or call us for a stand-alone service, for example:
- All-over new paint jobs typically run $12-15,000 or more. It's so NOT worth it if your vehicle is worth less than that. But investing in Clear Bra is less than $1000-3000 and if you get it applied right away. It will add 10 years to your car easily.
- Small dents and scratches can be repaired with Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) to avoid an all-new panel or part. Do it as soon as it happens to prevent rust over time!
- Spray-In Bedliner is a no-brainer on trucks! Rather than scratching and denting your truck bed from hauling wood and equipment, have us apply spray-in bed liner to add years to your truck! Companies like Line-X make rough, tough durable charcoal or black coatings that look fantastic in truck beds, and need soap, water, and a hose to clean.
We've got your back, and your partner in high-quality repairs and preventative maintenance to make your exterior and interior last.