We're taking steps to make our new cars last longer

Side view of black car

Sales of new cars and trucks are not living up to expectations.

But those of us who are taking 2011 models home with us apparently believe we'll need to hold onto our vehicles longer.

On what do I base that?

A survey by Izmocar, which analyzes accessories sales at 180 dealerships across the country.

Its midyear report shows consumers are spending more cash with dealers on items that protect their new car's exterior.

Izmocar tracks accessories installed at dealerships such as floor mats, burglar alarms, body side molding and so forth.

These are called "aftermarket" accessories, and, with the tough economy, dealerships are pushing such add-ons to make more money on each sale.

But we'll only buy such extras if we think they add value to our new car or truck.

Among the categories generating the most accessory sales were items to protect the exterior, such as bumper guards, door-edge guards and nose masks. Also high on the list were exterior paint protection and body side molding.

With little hope that the economy is going to improve anytime soon, new-car buyers must face the reality that they may have to live with their purchase for years to come.

It just makes money sense to take whatever reasonable precautions are available to help maintain a new car's appearance and retain its value.

Likewise, buying a few add-ons to increase fuel efficiency is smart in the long run because they can be expensed over an extended period of time.

That may well be why such mileage enhancers as upgraded air filter and exhaust systems are also increasing in popularity.

The fact that we'll spend more to protect our new car's appearance and beef up fuel efficiency is a pretty solid indicator, at least in my book, that we're reacting to the realities of keeping our cars longer.

It's a smart example to follow for anyone buying a new car today.

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