Americans Are Holding Onto Their Old Cars

Jul 2, 2019 2 min read
Americans Are Holding Onto Their Old Cars

People just aren’t ditching their rides like they used to.

Instead of getting rid of their car quickly, Americans are actually holding onto them longer than ever. A new report from IHS Markit shows that so far in 2019 the average age of vehicles in the United States is 11.8 years, surpassing the previous record. What’s more, the trend is supposed to keep going up past 12 years by the early part of the next decade, and we have technology to thank for that.

This means more dated cars are tooling around in cities and on country roads throughout the nation. Better build quality, which has been possible through technological improvements for manufacturing, has resulted in people thinking twice before kicking their ride to the curb. Cars just plain last longer than they did before.

There’s another factor causing people to hold onto their rides for more time than before. With longer loans becoming almost common, including payment terms of up to seven years, people keep driving their ride for a longer period than before. That’s because they want to drive a payment-free vehicle as a way to save money.

Where car owners in the United States live has an effect on how long keep that old set of wheels. In the west the average age of vehicles is highest at 12.4 years. Montana leads all other states at 16.6 years for the average car.

If you live in the northeast part of the country, you’re more likely to ditch your car earlier. The average vehicle there is just 10.9 years old, while Vermont is at the bottom end for all states at 9.9 years average.

This trend means some of the preservation and restoration techniques used in the collector car niche could become more mainstream. Drivers who want to keep using their aging ride could be searching for ways to refresh everything from exterior plastic trim to the headliner and upholstery.

Another area of growth will be the aftermarket parts market. Both manufacturers and sellers of components, as well as shops that offer to install them, should see an increase in business.

Source: IHS Markit

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