More vehicles need repairs, inflation doesn’t make it any easier


A service advisor at a Waco auto repair shop says repair costs are 30 to 50 percent higher than two years ago.

WACO, Texas — As prices for new and used cars continue to rise, auto repair shops are taking on more responsibility as consumers seek alternatives when it comes to their vehicles.

Business is good at Jesse Britt’s Automotive in Waco. Thomas Whelchel, the service advisor at the store, says they are feeling the pressure.

“About 15-20% busier in the last two years,” he said.

Inflation didn’t throw a spanner in the business, but it did in just about everything else.

“The average cost of vehicle repairs has increased significantly over the past six months due to parts availability and also due to inflation,” Whelchel explained.

He says repair costs are up 30-50% from two years ago.

This forced the store to temporarily adjust prices, especially for oil and alignments. Whelchel says tire prices have also increased.

One of the biggest problems Waco’s auto repair shop faces is finding parts.

“We have to think outside the box to find parts to fix people’s vehicles just because none of your aftermarket stores or even dealerships can get parts and parts and they just aren’t available,” added Whelchel. “So we have to try to find other resources.”

High prices don’t drive customers away because it’s cheaper than buying a new or used car from a dealership.

“People want to keep what they have on the road longer,” Whelchel said.

The average age of vehicles on the road hit an all-time high at 12.2 years, according to S&P Global Mobility.

Whelchel says simple maintenance can be key to avoiding high repair costs.

“Look at the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual and follow that maintenance schedule,” he explained. “Doing preventative maintenance will cost you expensive repairs in the long run.”

Jesse Britt’s Automotive knows customers are feeling the pressure of inflation all around them, so they help out when they can.

“We try to offset some of the cost of the prizes with discounts that we are able to offer,” Whelchel added.

This way they will continue to have the pile of clients they have had lately, the only kind of pressure they accept.

Whelchel also recommends having your vehicle checked at least twice a year.

Also, if you need repairs, arrive early because with out-of-stock parts and many customers, vehicle turnaround times are longer.


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