Why Does Auto Repair Cost So Much?

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Why Does Auto Repair Cost So Much?

This is a question heard fairly often in the auto repair business. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Here are some of the top reasons:

Automobiles cost a lot. While they are better made today than ever before, automobiles are mechanical things that will eventually break down. The number of parts on today's vehicles have increased astronomically, and that doesn't mean more nuts and bolts; it means complex integrated computer systems that are expensive to replace.
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Look at the average cost of an automobile today. "In 2006, the average price of a new vehicle was $27,958, including financing charges, which is up 6% from a year ago," according to Comerica .This represents 26.2 weeks worth of an average person's salary.

Training. Technicians can no longer "graduate" from tech school and spend a career in automotive repair, safe in the knowledge that they have learned everything they need to know in order to be a world class technician. Technicians and shop owners must now invest in constant training to stay current on vehicle information.

Tools. One reality of the current marketplace is that the very design parameters that drives one consumer to want a Ford F150, leads another consumer to want a Volkswagen Jetta. Your automotive technician needs the tools (and training) to service both of these vehicles. The average technician has invested $10,000 of their own money in specialized automotive repair tools. Then the shop owner supplements the technician's tool box with tools shared by the shop. For example, has your "check engine" light ever come on? Scanners to diagnose the cause of this warning start at $5,000. Then you spend hundreds of dollars to add the proper leads necessary to connect to each of the manufacture's systems.

Equipment and inventory. Today's investment in the proper automotive equipment can easily reach $175,000. Add in an additional $30,000 for inventory.

Overhead. Finally, there is the cost of operating the shop. Rent, utilities, insurance (for the building, the customers cars, tools, equipment), weather (the recent increase in hurricane damage in the southeast raised insurance costs by as much as 70%), uniforms, and don't forget labor. Labor costs are the single largest monthly expense at an average automotive service center! If a technician invests time and money into tools and an education, you have to be willing to pay them a living wage. Don't forget, automotive repair is hard back breaking work!

Looking for ways to take the sting out of auto repair? Tuffy offers a variety of payment options. See your local Tuffy Auto Service Center store manager for details.

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