I ain't ditchin' me car, yet!

Until recently, many drivers treated their cars less like transportation and more like handbags, jewelry and other trendy accessories. Drivers craving the latest in mechanical "bling" found easy credit and inexpensive lease deals attractive enough to get a new ride every three years or so.

Today, the scarcity of attractive terms for financing and leasing means that many people are keeping the cars they have. As a result, car dealerships are quiet while service shops buzz. "The three-year ownership mentality has crumbled," says Trevor Traina, founder of DriverSide, a Web site that helps people keep up with car maintenance and avoid overpaying for repairs. As new-car sales declined sharply, several sites like DriverSide and RepairPal have cropped up to cater to drivers who are keeping their old cars in shape instead of buying new ones.

- Jonathan Welsh, 'The Hot New Car Is Your Old Car'.


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