Inflation is driving-up car repair costs; here’s how to save – WLTX.com
The cost of car maintenance joins a growing list of things impacted by inflation, at a record high.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Record-high inflation is driving up costs at the mechanic.
According to the Department of Labor, motor vehicle parts and equipment are up nearly 15 percent across the U.S. from last year with car maintenance and repair seeing its largest increase since 1974.
Among the products impacted are tires, oil, and car parts with COVID-era supply chain issues partly to blame.
Todd Brantley owns Professional Tire and Radiator Service on North Main Street.
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“I believe it’s going to impact everyone’s prices. Everything goes up, so I naturally have to charge more just to pay my bills,” Brantley said. “Specialty car parts, certain car brands are very hard to find… I have definitely seen a drop in maintenance. You can still let it break and bring it in and we’ll fix it, but it’s best to stay in front of the bus.”
Jestone “Shotyme” McMoore owns That’s My Mechanic on Two Notch Road and says they’ve also seen a drop in customers seeking routine maintenance as customers look for ways to save.
“We used to be able to get things external for customers, maybe two days or three days. Now, it’s two to three weeks, if you’re lucky,” McMoore said. “Some customers we’ve seen have taken extraordinary measures, for example, in an effort of cutting costs they’re getting… maybe some people who are not held by the same standard as certified repair facilities. Oftentimes leaving their cars immobile, disabled…. So, now we have to go back through what somebody else may have done to get to a point where we can create a winning solution.”
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Maintenance shops are doing what they can to assist with some traveling for parts or capping prices, despite the rise in goods.
McMoore and Brantley recommend staying up on routine maintenance to avoid costly repairs.
“Create a relationship with a repair facility that you can trust,” McMoore said. “The honesty to say, hey, this needs to be done first, it is safety. These things with our experience, we believe you may be able to hold off on.”
“Do your maintenance, your filters,” Brantley said. “Oil change is a lot less expensive than a new engine.”
One positive when it comes to inflation and vehicles is the cost of gas.
According to AAA, it continues to fall both nationally and in South Carolina with prices averaging about $3.89 Saturday, down $0.16 from last week.
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