On a recent weekday at J’s Auto Repair in Detroit, when a mechanic worked to fix the backlog of a vehicle in need of repair, the car filled a dozen bays and flooded the parking lot.
Jay Salita, who has a service shop in the east end of town, says customers are trying to get aging cars, SUVs and pickup trucks when new and used car prices soar. He said it has become new common sense.
“The past year has been non-stop,” he said. “We are amazed at how busy and crazy it was. We worked very briefly to get enough help to deal with the volume. He did not disappear. Hmm. “
There is a reason for this. According to data provider IHS Markit, the average age of vehicles in the United States has reached a record 12.1 years. According to experts, cars and trucks have been on the road for a long time, in part because of the improvement in vehicle quality over the past 15 years.
At the same time, global semiconductor shortages are reducing auto production, pushing up prices for new and used cars, just as demand recovers from a pandemic crisis, and some consumers are driving their current vehicles on the market. road. I start to spend more to follow.
That means more business in the repair shop – if they can find help.
Ray Fisher, general secretary of the Texas-based Automotive Services Association, said: Reason? “I think that’s the price of a car. People are holding on rather than buying new ones.
According to Edmans, the average price of new cars totaled $ 40,948 last month, up 5% from $ 38,967 in June 2020. Used car prices are rising even faster. The average price for used cars nine years ago was $ 13,252 last month, up 29% from $ 10,226 in June 2020.
“There are many factors,” said Ivan Drury, senior director of Insights for Edmunds. “Looking back over the years, people don’t drive a lot. Of course, we were going to take a car of this age on the road even higher. You do it, the durability of the car over time. Combined with the fact that it is much better. Instead of those old crunkers, you can actually get these older and better vehicles at the same time. “
He added that the days when owners feared their cars would exceed 100,000 miles are over. During the 2008 recession, when unemployment and the housing crisis forced many people to keep their cars longer, drivers became more comfortable holding cars with longer mileage.
“They have seen the average age of the exchange increase – miles,” he said. One of the reasons is the dramatic improvement in vehicle quality in the mid-2000s. “People have learned the lesson, ‘Hey, these cars are outlining. “”
At J’s Auto Repair, most of the vehicles it serves are 2011 to 2017 model years, Salita said: The roads, and people always put money into them. “
“In a car ten or ten years ago, people did not put some patterns in it,” he added. “Now they are doing it. You’ve got the 2011 Equinox. Engine replacement and engine rebuild is spectacular three or four and they’re spending it. “
Salaytah said he believes people are putting money in their cars thanks to a $ 1,400 federal incentive given out this spring. Wage increases due to labor shortages have also helped.
Blair Hilson of Detroit, one of Salaytah’s clients, says he would rather invest in Chevy Malibu in 2011 than buy a new one. Chevrolet fans say his car is about 150,000 miles and there are no plans to get rid of it.
“I did two jobs and paid them back in full. It is my precious property, ”said Hilson.
Hilson said he spent more than $ 2,500 on his car over the past two years, including new transmissions and wiring. His family also surprised him with new rims and tires. It cost $ 1200.
“It’s great to own a new car, but it’s not profitable for everyone because the insurance is so high,” he said. “You pay over $ 300 or $ 400, depending on your grades, and your insurance is about the same.”
Hilson said he noticed the impact of tip shortages on inventory and vehicle prices.
“The shortage makes a big difference in its price and value,” he said. “I do not recommend it at the moment because it is very difficult for anyone looking for a new car.”
Bret Row, owner of AutoLab in Plymouth, Mich., Says people who keep their cars for a long time are best suited for business, and this trend is due to high selling prices.
“There is no doubt that old cars will arrive on average,” he said. “People are ready to fix old cars that they may not have repaired in the past.”
A recent customer with a 2003 Ford Taurus helps Rowe file a claim. The car was in good condition but needed repairs of $ 3,200 which the owner decided to make.
“The person spent a lot of money to replace the transmission, where sometimes someone would say, ‘I didn’t fix this car,’” he said. “They would have gone ahead.”
Mark Sullivan, auto repair manager at Plymouth Shop, said he’s been spending more time working lately due to late availability of parts. If you’re lucky it’s like the same day now. “
He said parts were difficult to obtain quickly and braking work during repairs has been delayed since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and the business began to resume. Pent-up demand is a factor.
“The car was there for almost a year,” Sullivan said. “You still have a year of work because the car still needed it, but (the owner) didn’t. Now all of a sudden everyone is working year round. Instead of doing this, I need a car to go to work next week. “
Mechanic Mazen Alsabbagh works on the suspension of the Mercury Grand Marquis 2000 on July 7 at Jay’s Auto Repair in Detroit, Michigan.
Mechanic AJ Jenkins works on a Ford Fusion brake on July 7 at J’s Auto Repair in Detroit, Michigan.