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Is DIY Auto Maintenance Making Your Customers Your New Competitors?

For the first quarter of 2024, AutoZone’s profits exceeded expectations, which is a big win for any company during these economic times. For dealerships, however, their success might signal a growing segment of competitors in the auto maintenance space, and it’s not other service centers. Instead, it’s your customer’s garage. Frugal car owners are joining hobbyists as DIY auto care enthusiasts. And while that means higher sales for AutoZone, your service center may be losing customers. With the right marketing, however, it’s not impossible to bring them back to the service bay.

The Appeal of DIY Auto Maintenance

The cost of everything has risen in recent years, and consumers are feeling the strain in multiple ways. For starters, the sticker prices on new and used vehicles have increased enough that would-be buyers are choosing to keep older cars longer. This is one of the main drivers bolstering the profits of auto part stores. Older cars need more maintenance than newer models. While that might mean that some car owners are visiting the service center more often, others are doubling down on their savings by foregoing professional auto maintenance in favor of DIY solutions. Luckily for them, older cars have less advanced technology that is more accessible to laypeople, and interest in YouTube channels like ChrisFix and Scotty Kilmer has gone up right alongside AutoZone’s profits. These channels allow drivers to learn their way around a socket wrench and save a few bucks in the process – a two-for-one deal that may be hard for dealerships to beat.

Competing With a Value Proposition

While on the surface it may seem like dealerships are competing with “free” auto care, your service center still has several selling points that DIY maintenance just doesn’t offer. Below are just a few.


At Strong Automotive, our team is staffed with marketing experts. Our brains are filled with market research, SEO tactics, and direct mail strategies. Ask us when to post on Facebook, and our social team will give you a full schedule to achieve your goals. Ask us where an ignition coil goes, though, and you’ll likely be met with blank stares. That’s because, no matter how many YouTube channels the average person watches, we can’t match the expertise and knowledge of a trained professional. Without years of experience and the right diagnostic tools, many DIY mechanics don’t know where to start, even when making minor repairs.


For most people, the general lack of expertise translates to spending hours in the garage swiping through videos to first diagnose the problem and then learn how to fix it. The research phase is then followed by hours spent fumbling through step-by-step tutorials. Unless auto care is a hobby, a weekend spent making auto repairs is a loss for most people.

Quality and Peace of Mind

Finally, driving a vehicle repaired by a marketing strategist wouldn’t be the most reassuring experience. Nothing can top the reliability of repairs from a trained mechanic using OEM parts and the peace of mind drivers get when they know they can trust the quality of their repairs.

Marketing Your Service Center

Bringing car owners into your service center starts with ensuring high-quality results every time, as consumers rely on reviews when researching the best services. In your messaging, always highlight your dealership’s expertise, efficiency, and quality. It’s also important to address DIYers directly in your messaging. Contact us for a full marketing strategy.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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