While males still dominate the do-it-yourself (DIY) segment of the automotive aftermarket, the percentage of female DIY vehicle maintainers is growing and they are now responsible for performing maintenance in one-third of all DIY households, according to a survey by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

The Aftermarket Consumer: Do-it-Yourself or Do-it-for-Me survey showed that, from 1994 to 2000, the percentage of total US households performing light, medium or heavy-duty maintenance has remained constant, despite perceptions about a shrinking DIY market.

Since 1994, the percentage of DIY households with female DIYers has increased from 27 percent to 34 percent. Males still comprise the remaining 66 percent of the DIY market.

The report profiles the typical female DIY as 46 years old, married, attended college and employed full time. Her household income is $US52,100, with two family vehicles, which she typically works on about once every two to three months, primarily to save money. She is older, more educated and has a higher household income than her 1994 counterpart.

Most female DIYers (62 percent) do light maintenance which includes changing the oil, rotating tyres, checking and refilling fluids and changing or replacing wipers and batteries.

A quarter of female DIYers tackle medium maintenance jobs such as installing new brakes, draining, flushing and refilling the cooling system, replacing ignition parts, installing mufflers or exhaust systems and replacing shock absorbers.

"There is a common misperception that modern cars are too complicated and high-tech for consumers to work on themselves," said Alfred L. Gaspar, AAIA president and CEO.

"The reality is that numerous maintenance and repair tasks can be easily performed in the driveway or garage at home. Families are saving valuable time and money and having a lot of fun doing it themselves.

"Our research shows that the DIY market is strong. It should be, because for most people the cars is their second biggest investment, after the home. By performing routine maintenance and repairs, consumers can take control of their vehicle's safety and dependability and take pride in ownership," said Gaspar.