Toronto, Ontario – Canadians are spending less on maintenance and repairs for their vehicles, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates. The owner-reported annual spending on maintenance for vehicles four to 12 years old has dropped from $9.0 billion in 2010 to $8.4 billion in 2011.

The decrease stems from both a decline in the average amount spent per service visit, and the number of service visits. Overall, the number of visits has decreased by nine per cent, while annual spending across all vehicle ages has declined by an average of $23. The largest change was seen among eight- to 12-year-old vehicles, with average annual expenditures for this group declining to $736 in 2011 from $821 in 2010.

The study measures the satisfaction, loyalty and service behaviours of owners of four- to 12-year-old vehicles, examining five key factors: the process of getting the vehicle in for service, service advisor performance, service facility, quality of work performed, and the process of vehicle return/pickup. The study looks at both new-car dealerships and aftermarket facilities.

NAPA AUTOPRO ranked highest for customer satisfaction, receiving an overall score of 875 points on a 1,000-point scale. It was followed by Great Canadian Oil Change (864 points), Pennzoil (845), Goodyear Auto Service Centre (842) and Midas (836).

Owners of eight- to 12-year-old vehicles are more likely to visit an aftermarket facility rather than a dealership for service. The study found that 39 per cent said they were attended to immediately at a dealership, while 58 per cent said they received immediate attention at an aftermarket facility. Eighty per cent of owners who visited dealerships said the service advisor put them at ease, versus 85 per cent at aftermarket; 73 per cent of visitors to aftermarket facilities said the service advisor provided helpful advice, versus 66 per cent who felt the same at dealerships.

Among new-car dealerships, Subaru dealers (832 points) ranked highest, at sixth on the list behind aftermarket facilities. Acura dealers (829) ranked seventh. At the bottom of the list were Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express (779), Canadian Tire (764), BMW dealerships (762) and Costco (746).

Independent garages and repair shops were not included in the study. Included but not ranked due to their small sample size were Esso, Firestone Auto Service Centre, Kal Tire, Meineke Car Care Centre, Mitsubishi dealerships, Mr. Muffler, OK Tire, Petro-Canada Certigard, Shell, Speedy, and Suzuki dealerships.

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