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RepairPal Survey Results for Consumer Car Buying Habits

By Kimberlea Buczeke, March 13, 2009

RepairPal surveyed over 1,000 Americans through a SurveyMonkey panel in February 2018, learning more about their individual research processes when purchasing a new or used vehicle. 

»MORE: Use the car comparison tool to see how your vehicle stacks up.

An equal percentage of respondents said that, if they were to start the car-buying process today, they would choose to rely on an initial Google search (31.43%) or choose to consult friends and family (31.43%) ahead of other methods.

For their most recent new or used vehicle purchase, those surveyed rated information from friends and family as their most trusted resource for information, followed very closely by reliability ratings and online reviews from owners.


The graph displays the responses of all users who took the survey.

The study found that 85.9% of car buyers who compared vehicles of similar makes or classes before buying said they were satisfied with their purchase, compared to 79.5% of those who chose not to conduct comparisons. Among those who chose to compare cars before buying, the factors they predominantly looked at appeared to play only a small role in their overall post-purchase satisfaction.


The graph displays the responses of users segmented into two groups: compared vehicles pre-purchase (dark gray) and didn’t compare vehicles pre-purchase (light gray).

In researching a vehicle to purchase, respondents said that price was the most important factor at 46%, followed by the reliability of the vehicle at 21%. When looking only at new-car buyers, however, 26% prioritized vehicle reliability and only 19% prioritized price.


The chart displays the different primary factors that would influence a car purchase decision of all respondents. 

When considering repairs for their vehicles, new-car buyers said they were more likely to visit a dealership, while used-car buyers were more likely to support a local, independent repair shop. When deciding where to go for servicing, quality and price of the repair were the most important factors to used-car buyers, while the quality of the repair and scheduling convenience were the most important factors to new-car buyers.


The graph displays the responses of users segmented into two groups: those who previously purchased a used vehicle (dark gray) and those who previously purchased a new vehicle (light gray)


The graph displays the responses of users segmented into two groups: those who previously purchased a used vehicle (dark gray) and those who previously purchased a new vehicle (light gray) 

Methodology

This survey of 1,322 U.S. adults ages 18 and older was conducted online on Feb. 21-26, 2018, by SurveyMonkey on behalf of RepairPal. This online survey isn’t based on a probability sample of the population and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. The data for this survey was collected using SurveyMonkey Audience. Information on how respondents are recruited to SurveyMonkey is available here: www.surveymonkey.com/mp/audience.

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