Fast Times For Auto Mechanics

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Monday, August 29, 2011 - 8:11am

Slow economy has people repairing their cars instead of buying new.

Business is picking up at the auto shop.

It's been a tough couple years for car owners and car mechanics, but as more people decide to skip buying new cars they're fixing up their old ones.

"Most of it is generated toward people maintaining or catching up, quite frankly, the maintenance on their cars," says mechanic Dave Ely.

Ely says 75 percent of his customers are keeping their cars longer, but until now most have been putting off those repairs.

"We are getting to that point where their have been three years of deferral on a lot of vehicles and it's at that point if we don't catch up it's going to put us into more repairs," he says, "so people are finally realizing that and catching up with their repairs."

The same is true with car cosmetics.

Bill Chase with Maaco Auto Body says higher mileage cars are coming in for a new paint job instead of trading them in owners are trying to make their cars look newer.

"They are actually keeping about twice as long as they used to keep cars," Chase says.

"The rule of thumb seems to be twice the payoff time, so if you paid if off in five years a lot of people are telling us their goal is to keep that car for 10 years," Ely says.

In many cases that means keeping cars well beyond a 100,000 or even 200,000 miles.

"A lot of people don't realize cars are good from anywhere from 250 to 300-thousand miles or more if you maintain them and people are starting to realize I don't need a new car every two three years," Chase says.
 

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