Motorists are keeping their cars longer and carrying out their own repairs because of the credit crunch.
As a result, car maintenance manuals are flying off bookshop shelves as drivers turn their backs on garages, according to manual publishers Haynes.
Haynes Publishing managing director John Haynes said: "You don't need to buy a new car to enjoy reliable motoring as modern cars are generally reliable, especially if they are serviced and maintained regularly."
Motorists are also choosing to buy car parts online to save costs, said Carparts-direct.co.uk.
The mail order specialists said sales of parts had increased 28% compared with the same time last year, with some motorists able to get parts for a quarter of what they might pay from a car dealership.
In another bid to beat the economic downturn, many caravan owners are lending their caravans to friends or renting them to students for college accommodation.
Others are using them as an extra "room" with some turning them into studies and others into children's playrooms, according to a survey by caravan insurance company Towergate Bakers.
© The Press Association 2008