Amidst Stay-at-Home Orders, Americans Are Driving 50% Less Due to COVID-19

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Endurance Warranty Survey Uncovers How the Pandemic is Affecting People’s Driving Habits

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Endurance Warranty Services

9 out of 10 Americans are using their vehicles 50% less than they did before the outbreak of COVID-19. Vehicles across the country are sitting idle for longer periods of time, leaving owners and drivers vulnerable to costly breakdowns.

Does it feel like forever since you’ve cruised the open road? Maybe you’re longing for the days of a lengthy commute, cuddled up with a favorite podcast. According to a recent Endurance Warranty survey, you’re not alone.

Endurance Warranty Services—a leader in protecting people from the high cost of auto repair bills—surveyed its members and found that 9 out of 10 Americans are using their vehicles 50 percent less than they did before the outbreak of COVID-19. Vehicles across the country are sitting idle for longer periods of time, leaving owners and drivers vulnerable to costly breakdowns.

“With less day-to-day driving, essential vehicle components like the engine, battery, and brakes are at a higher risk of failure or corrosion,” said Alex Perrone, a twenty-year mechanic, and director of claims administration at Endurance. “Plus, if you suddenly return to regular driving, it can accelerate damage to your vehicle leading to costly breakdowns.”

WHO IS DRIVING LESS AND WHY?
Prior to the outbreak, 43 percent of Americans used their vehicles for daily commutes, driving anywhere between two and three hours daily. This was consistent across urban, suburban, and rural communities. Soon after March 2020, however, the nation saw a shift in driving habits.

“As the pandemic gained momentum in April, we saw unemployment rates skyrocket and both large and small businesses migrating their workforce to at-home working conditions, including our own,” said Paul Chernawsky, CEO and co-founder of Endurance Warranty. “What’s interesting is our survey revealed a 50 percent reduction in car use across the nation—regardless of drivers’ employment status.”

Eight months now after the outbreak of COVID-19, states are slowly re-opening, and drivers are excited to get back on the road. Almost half (47 percent) of Americans plan to increase car usage once their states fully re-open, but the future of driving still seems unknown. The survey saw that at least 24 percent of Americans plan to stick only to essential trips when leaving home, even when their states fully re-open, and another 29 percent are waiting to decide if they’ll be ready to leave home more frequently or not given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.

IDLE CARS ARE PRONE TO BREAKDOWNS
Many believe driving less means fewer opportunities for car issues, but this isn’t true. Idle cars have a higher chance of experiencing battery failure, corrosion on cylinder walls, and build-up on both brake pads and rotor—all of which can lead to a breakdown. Couple this with impending colder weather in many states and the fact that Americans are eager to get on the road again, and it’s the perfect time to make sure your vehicle is set with the proper auto maintenance and protection plans.

6 TOP WINTER AUTO MAINTENANCE TIPS
Auto expert and RepairPal certified mechanic, Andrew Giorgi of Midwest City AutoSpa in Oklahoma offers 6 key tips for preparing your vehicle for winter:

1. Replace Wipers: Old windshield wipers can cause scratches, especially with ice and snow
2. Get an Oil Change: For colder months, change to a lower viscosity oil—this allows the oil to move more freely about the engine to keep it running smoothly
3. Rotate Tires: Avoid uneven wear and tear from icy terrain by rotating tires and checking pressure weekly
4. Fix Brake Pads: Replace or repair brake pads with under ¼ in thickness to avoid damaging other essential parts
5. Change Spark Plugs: New spark plugs every 30,000 miles can help avoid problems with getting your car started
6. Check Coolant: If temperatures drop when coolant is low, this can lead to frozen radiator coolant and ultimately a breakdown or a car blowing cold air

“I see fewer and fewer people performing vehicle maintenance tasks as regularly as they should be, so I always recommend an auto protection plan for my customers,” says Andrew. “Nobody wants to be caught broken down on a cold winter road, and a solid auto protection plan not only helps cover breakdowns but also offers great everyday driver benefits like 24/7 roadside assistance.”

5 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN AN AUTO PROTECTION PLAN
If your auto manufacturer’s warranty has expired or is expiring soon, your wallet is on the hook for costly repairs. An auto protection plan—otherwise known as a vehicle service contract—picks up where your manufacturer’s warranty leaves off. Here’s what to look for when choosing a plan:

1. Direct Administrator: Look for a company that administers the plans they sell. As a customer, this means no run-around on reimbursement if you have to file a claim.
2. Roadside Assistance: Stranded? Find coverage that offers 24/7 towing and breakdown assistance if you break down on the road.
3. Trip Interruption: Breakdowns are stressful, especially if you’re far from home. Find coverage offering reimbursement for meals and lodging if you breakdown away from home.
4. Substitute Transportation: Car in the shop? Get a plan with rental car coverage from licensed rental agencies so you can get home—or to work—reliably.
5. Any Certified Mechanic: Choose a plan that allows you to take your car to the local certified mechanic that you trust, or use RepairPal to tap into a network of trusted shops.

ENDURANCE IS HERE TO HELP YOU GET BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Whether you’re prepping to get out of the house, or you’re limiting car use and staying in, routine maintenance and auto protection coverage are critical to keeping your car in top shape—whenever you’re ready to hit the road again.

Endurance handles the cost of sudden breakdowns by paying the mechanic directly for both parts and labor, alleviating the financial burden of auto repairs. Unlike other companies, Endurance is the direct administrator of their plans. That means no middleman and no run-around. They're with you from quote to claim, with VIP customer service that gets you back on the road fast. Besides extensive breakdown coverage, their plans also offer benefits like rental car services and trip interruption coverage, plus all Endurance vehicle service contracts come with 24/7 roadside assistance and a free year of an Endurance Elite Membership—with over $2,000 in benefits like key fob and tire repair and replacement, a personal concierge, and more.

Endurance has been providing comprehensive breakdown protection for nearly two decades. They have paid over $80 million in claims and currently protect over 750,000 vehicles on the road. To learn more about personalized auto protection and to get a free quote, visit endurancewarranty.com, or follow Endurance on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This survey of Endurance members was conducted online by Endurance Warranty Services with 800 total respondents ages 18 and over within the United States between August 3 and September 3, 2020.

SUGGESTED TWEET
“Americans are using vehicles 50% less than before COVID-19,” says @Endurance. “Less day-to-day driving means vehicle parts like the engine, battery & brakes are at higher risk of failure.” Are your car use habits setting you up for a breakdown this winter?

ABOUT ENDURANCE WARRANTY SERVICES
Founded in 2006, Endurance Warranty Services is the nation's premier provider of vehicle service contracts, providing the most comprehensive and customer-centric auto protection in the market for nearly two decades. Named one of the largest and fastest-growing companies in Chicago by Crain’s and continuously climbing the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America, Endurance protects thousands of drivers from the high cost of repair bills every day. To find out how Endurance can help you save thousands in auto repairs, visit endurancewarranty.com.

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Melissa Balsan
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