Because of the economy, people are maintaining and keeping cars longer

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - You're hearing the sound of air drills a lot more these days in car repair shops.  It's a trend that's growing.

"We don't see hardly as many new cars as we did, say six or seven years ago," repair shop owner Dan Nord said. "Right now, mostly what we're seeing are customers with the same vehicle they've had for many years, trying to maintain them and keep them going until they can get in a better position."

With people still watching every dollar, the math is simple.

"It's cheaper to keep them," auto mechanic Kenny Jarrett said. "Car notes, insurance, the tags on a new car are so much higher. People just want to keep what they got. They don't want to, they have to."

While the number of people keeping their cars has increased 14 percent since 2008, an average of 5 1/2 years for a car, something even more important must be done, the proper maintenance of your car.

"Well, I have three cars. I have one 13 year old, one 12 year old, and one 7 year old and I always try to maintain them and keep them up and oil change every 3,000 miles and so far it's worked, all three are running great," car owner Dee Smelley said.

Repair shop owner Donnie Tinsley said if you don't spend a little now, it will cost you in the long run.

"When you do have a repair, typically it's going to be a less costly bill. If you're riding your brakes till they grind into the rotors you've got to replace everything."

Good advice until you decide to buy new once again.

Here's an interesting fact.  According to CARMD.COM, Mississippi has the lowest average repair bill of any state in the country, just over $255 per repair.  The highest state is Alaska.

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