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October 18, 2021

Canadians cutting back on car repairs: study

Holding off on that oil change for a few more weeks? Well, you’re not alone.

Whether it’s the economy or improved vehicle quality, Canadians are spending less to maintain and repair their cars, according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates report.

We’re also visiting garages less often, and when we do take our vehicles in, the average price for repairs has been dropping for awhile now.

Per service spending has averaged $287 this year, compared to $352 in 2009 a trend that could end up costing vehicle owners more in the long term if they have to pay for emergency maintenance, J.D. Power suggests.

Quebeckers spent considerably less than Ontario residents on average ($499 vs. $730) with the remainder of Canadians falling between those extremes Atlantic $681, Prairies $665 and British Columbia $589.

While some people are clearly just postponing scheduled maintenance, the report attributes at least a portion of this drop to improved reliability and a slight decline in the average age of vehicles on the road.

Those average costs could drop again though as dealers struggle to move cars off their lots.

Toyota, for instance, has begun pitching two years of free maintenance with the purchase of many of its cars, making them the first mass-market auto company to offer such a service.

Right now, the offer is only good in the U.S., but Canadian drivers could soon hear the same pitch.

Your other option might be sites like AutoMD or RepairPal which offer repair estimates so buyers can get the inside scoop. They don't do the work, of course, but they have introduced the transparency now available in new car shopping to car repair and maintenance.

Have you been holding off on maintenance to stretch a dollar? Do you shop around for repairs? Would a free maintenance package have any influence on your car purchasing?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...