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Service contracts become more popular as cars age

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, American motorists are hanging onto their cars longer – and with the rising cost of repairs to keep those vehicles on the road, the Service Contract Industry Council (SCIC) says there's never been more reason to get a service contract and dramatically reduce repair costs.

According to an analysis released earlier this month by the automotive research group Polk, consumers on average now keep their cars a record 11.4 years, up 15 percent since 2007. At the same time, a separate report from the car repair site CarMD says car repair costs rose 10 percent last year.

"Most of us want to do everything we can to hang onto our cars as long as possible, but the rising cost of repairs makes this increasingly difficult," said Timothy Meenan, SCIC executive director. "The upkeep of an older car can get expensive quickly, but extended coverage through a service contract helps keep a car running longer without so many pricey repair bills."

The most common car components needing repair include the electrical, air conditioning, cooling and fuel, steering and engine systems. With costs of these repairs often ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, the extended protection of a service contract can greatly reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

"Service contracts provide peace of mind for owners who keep their cars longer. Expensive breakdowns always seem to happen right after a car loses its manufacturer's warranty protection, so extended service contracts can provide more years of worry-free driving," Meenan said.

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