FOUR-in-five drivers plan to hang on to their car for as long as possible, a new survey has found.
With car sales off to a slow start this year, some 79pc of motorists will be adding road miles to their existing vehicle rather than buying a new one, the AA said.
The details emerged from an online poll of over 9,600 people carried out in January.
The AA said it wants to highlight the importance of car maintenance, particularly when it comes to older vehicles.
It said it saw a slight increase in the number of breakdowns caused by steering, suspension and brake issues -- problems usually associated with wear and tear -- last year.
The 2011 Irish Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics revealed that 79pc of private cars in Ireland were four years or more old while 60pc were six years or more.
It compared to figures of 71pc and 53pc, respectively, in 2009.
Some 28pc of those polled by the AA said they have a fund set aside for when they next go to buy a new or second hand car.
Respondents to the survey commented that vehicle running costs are a major barrier when it comes to saving for their next car purchase.
Just under 60pc said they have struggled to find the money to pay for fuel, car tax, the NCT test or motor insurance over the last year.
The AA revealed that a respondent took a week off work last year so they could offset the petrol costs against their motor tax bill.
Others paid their car tax at three-month intervals as they could not manage to pay it all in one go or left their car off the road until they could afford repairs or meet their motor tax bill.
"Motorists have been squeezed and squeezed and clearly the money they're putting into running their cars has to come from elsewhere," said Conor Faughnan, director of AA Consumer Affairs.
"From what we're hearing from the front line we're going to be seeing more and more older vehicles on our roads and drivers need to be really conscious of wear and tear," Mr Faughnan added.
AA Patrols, which attend breakdowns, has advised motorists not to stretch out the interval between car services.
The AA's Trevor Freeman said: "A higher percentage of the jobs we're attending these days involve older vehicles and we do come across examples where quite costly repairs could have been avoided if the car had had its annual service.
"And of course there's also the safety aspect of making sure your tyres aren't overly worn, your brakes are performing at an optimum, your lights are giving you the best possible visibility and so on."