“Why is car repair so expensive?” This is a question that I occasionally get asked and I will answer this with two further questions: One: Why do you think that it is expensive? Two: What are you basing that statement on?
Defining car repair as being expense is really a value judgment and it requires looking at all the aspects of car ownership to put the price of repairs into perspective. If you truly believe that car repairs are too expensive then it is likely that our industry has not shown you the value of what we offer and what goes into maintaining and repairing your car.
Owning a car involves the cost of buying the car, maintaining and repairing the car, fuel costs and insurance. There is a financial balance between buying a car and the cost of repairs and maintenance. As a car ages repair costs rise while buying costs are gone. With a new car the buying costs are high and the repair costs are low. It is always important to remember that balance. If repair and maintenance costs are lower than purchase costs (monthly payments) then keeping an older car running and in good repair often makes financial sense.
Let’s now look at what goes into car repair: first, auto repair is a highly skilled trade. Next to your doctor, there may be few jobs that require the knowledge and skill of an auto service technician. While there are specialists, a technician working in a general repair shop must not only be a skilled mechanic but must also be a plumber, electrician, electronics technician, diagnostics expert, fabricator & welder. Every new model year and make of car introduces new technology that must be learned. For all these skills the average auto technician is actually paid less than a plumber!
An auto repair shop is an expensive business to operate: there are many tools required and while some last many years other items such as diagnostic scan tools require expensive and constant upgrading. While a carpenter may be able to buy all of their tools for a lifetime career in one shot, the auto service technician and shop are always required to purchase new tools to keep up with the changes that the manufacturers make.
With every repair there are parts required, diagnostic labour is often needed and repair labour to disassemble and reassemble whatever item is being repaired.
While I could go on with more details, I would ask you to have a dialogue with us whenever the “why is it so expensive” question comes up so that we can explain the value of what we offer.
Mostly it boils down to this: When you compare the cost of your car repairs over a year or two period you’ll likely find that it is substantially lower than making monthly payments on a new car. If that holds true for you, then is car repair really that expensive?