What Four-Year Itch? Americans are Keeping their Cars Longer, E3 Spark Plugs Finds.

Like your girl's hot new haircut, an aftermarket upgrade to your ride can make you feel like you've got something brand new.

E3 Spark Plugs wasn’t too surprised to see results of a recent survey that shows Americans are dodging that “four-year itch” and keeping their cars for longer than ever before. After all, the economy’s tight, gas prices continue to climb and – thankfully – many of today’s automotive parts and engine components are built to last.

According to R.L. Polk, a leading automotive market research firm, Americans are keeping new cars for an average 63.9 months – up 4.5 months from the same period in 2009. And we’re keeping used cars for 46.1 months, up 3.7 months from 2009. That’s a combined average of 52.2 months of ownership.

Longer ownership is getting easier, too. Many routine tune-up items that once required replacement every 15,000 miles today are good for up to 100,000 miles. Others may not even exist in newer automobiles. More efficient internal combustion engines help your spark plugs keep their spark for longer and are less wearing on your spark plug wires. Newer ignitions with an ignition coil pack for each cylinder do away with rotors and distributor caps altogether.

To help stave off that four-year itch for something new in the driveway, auto owners increasingly are turning to aftermarket upgrades. According to SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association), consumer demand for aftermarket products hit a high pace in the first quarter of 2010 and continues. Upgrading your factory-installed radio to a new surround-sound stereo system with an iPod deck or installing a flashy new set of allow wheels and tires will give your ride a bit of a pride jolt for a lot less than buying a new vehicle will cost. Remember when your ol’ lady got that new hairdo and a slinky new dress to match? Admit it – You secretly felt like you got a whole new girlfriend without the cost of a breakup or an Internet dating site fee. We bet you even splurged on a few more nights out on the town with your eye candy upgrade. Treat your old car the same and you’ll get that same renewed pride taking her down the highway.

Have you upgraded your ride lately? E3 Spark Plugs wants to see your results. Leave a comment on our blog or post a pic on our Facebook fan page.