Automotive filters are among the more unassuming motor vehicle components; however, filters and their maintenance comprise an important part of overall vehicle maintenance. While failing to change your automotive filters is unlikely to drive your car to a grinding halt in the short term, clogged filters can negatively impact vehicle performance and gas mileage and can even lead to expensive repairs to other automotive components.
Nevertheless, despite the implications filters have for overall motor vehicle health, replacement rates across North America differ, in large part due to cultural and economic differences.
Canada & the US: Preventive Maintenance & DIFM
The US and Canada comprise the wealthier of the three North American countries. Higher levels of disposable income increase the likelihood of adherence to manufacturer-recommended filter replacement schedules. In addition, greater disposable income levels support an ongoing trend away from do-it-yourself (DIY) activity toward do-it-for-me (DIFM). In order to boost sales, some professional automotive repair establishments may recommend premature filter replacement as this service is typically relatively easy but profitable. Ongoing consumer education efforts by manufacturers and automotive repair professionals in the US and Canada regarding the proper replacement schedules for certain automotive filters, such as cabin air filters, also increases replacement rates in these two countries.
Mexico: Repair or Reuse, Don’t Replace
In contrast, Mexico exhibits a cultural preference for repair rather than replacement, largely due to the cost savings repair offers, the lower average income levels, and lesser buying power in this nation. In this respect, Mexico aligns more with the rest of Latin America than with its northern neighbors. In addition, consumer education efforts regarding the need to replace disposable automotive filters are insufficient to overcome this cultural preference for reuse, with advice to replace filters sometimes being offered alongside discussions of washing and reuse techniques, both on professional sites and in discussion forums. Furthermore, replacement rates are lower in Mexico as the focus on preventive maintenance is not as great in Mexico as in the US and Canada.
To find out more
Need more information? For historical demand data and forecasts by product, performer, and country, see The Freedonia Group’s series of studies on the automotive aftermarket, which includes:
These studies also cover market environment factors, industry structure, company market share, and leading companies.
About the Author:
E. Reta Sober is an industry analyst at The Freedonia Group where she writes studies related to electrical equipment, machinery, and the automotive industry.