Why Are Car Repairs So Expensive Today?

If 10 years ago you asked the car owners ” How much does it cost you to drive your car?” they will certainly think about the expenses like car maintenance costs, fuel, or insurance costs. Now, we are sure many owners will say it’s the car repair cost when the costs can go far beyond what you pay for the car. So the problem needs to be answered “ Why are car repairs so expensive today” Let Car From Japan find out about this problem!

car repair cost
Let’s find out the reason why car repair cost is so expensive (Photo: flickr.com)

The reasons why are car repairs so expensive today

A research report studied by CarMD about the repair car costs in each state in the USA said that the average cost to repair cars can reach: $400-$600/month in recent years. While the cost to replace a belt, fix a wheel bearing, or change an alternator can cost 5 or even 10 times more than average. This is a reason why nowadays, many people choose to buy a new car instead of fixing a car after years of use. So what are the reasons why the costs are steep?

Labor cost

Normally, repair costs will be calculated according to the following formula: 

Repair cost = Parts cost + Labor cost + VAT.

You can see that labor costs play an important role in this formula. Automotive News wrote that” The automobile industry currently has a severe shortage of qualified service mechanics. To meet demand, the industry is estimated to need an additional 46,000 (6%) technicians by 2026. 

Due to shortages, dealers and repair facilities are forced to pay extra to recruit and retain technicians. A higher wages level is the necessary way to help employees feel satisfied. According to the data we got. At the repair shops, the average salary a technician receives ranges from $30 to $215 per hour. Besides, training a professional auto mechanic often costs a lot of time and money.

Parts cost

car parts cost
Parts cost is an important factor to contribute the expensive car repairs (Photo: flickr.com)

According to the data from Innovation Group – responsible for repairing around 500,000 times in Europe every year – said that has a big change in the part cost. Specifically, bumper repair costs went up by 35% compared to previous years; windscreen jumped by 30%, and tail lights increased by 67%. Higher transportation and labor costs along with an overloaded supply chain are partly reasons for excessive parts prices.

The second most important factor is the increased use of aluminum instead of steel in the car body. Because using aluminum will lighten the weight of the car and improve performance, steel usage fell from 10% to 80% between 2009-2017. Meanwhile, aluminum usage increased from 3.5% to 14% year-on-year, although it is 30-35% more expensive. Especially, when the alternator is broken out, the cost to replace alternator can reach: $500 – $1000 for a new one

The last reason is that the market for auto parts (parts) suppliers is relatively limited, which pushes prices steep. In addition, suppliers are working more and more with foreign automakers. The geographical expansion to Asia, in particular, means that transportation costs have increased by 30-35%.

New Technology

You can realize that the increase is particularly for modern cars, in which almost every component uses modern technology. The more modern the car, the more expensive car repair. There are even cars that repair some auto parts that cost as much as a new car.

Most cars are now equipped with safety systems. So repairing will consume a lot of money for owners. In the past, when a car had a frontal collision, it was often necessary to repair the front bumper and engine if it was repaired. However, currently, airbags are equipped inside the car. The price can reach $ 1000 to $ 4000, plus the front sensors. Then the repair cost will be very costly.

In addition, the fact that cars also have features such as pedestrian detection, collision warning, and emergency braking all require a camera system, sensors installed around the car, parking assist, and cruise control program, lane warning, so when the car has a collision that needs repair, it will entail a lot of costs.

Covid impacts

The serious effects of COVID-19 on the automobile industry are a worldwide problem. To further support the health and safety of employees, some repair shops have employees laid off or work- from- home. Causing labor shortage in the car repair service industry.

Due to the infrequent nature of auto parts purchases, the industry as a whole is able to raise prices when needed without significant loss. The components industry is just one of many that are currently facing significant shortages due to supply chains impacted by the coronavirus.

What should we do to reduce car repair costs?

You also know, the cost to buy a car as well as repair is very expensive, how can we change the pricey repair cost? A few simple ways below, that will help you save a lot of money when your car needs repair:

Read the car manual

Manual will provide important information such as setup, operation, parts details, faults, and repairs. Therefore, this manual will assist the driver in properly controlling the car to avoid unfortunate incidents and reduce damage caused by collisions.

In particular, the manual also provides drivers with information about the routine maintenance schedule, and how to check and fix popular damages. With minor, car owners can completely fix it at home instead of taking it to the garage to save repair costs. 

car maintenance costs
Car maintenance costs account for a significant amount in the cost of the car. (Photo: flickr.com)

During the repair process, drivers should consult more knowledge on the company’s website or other reputable information sites to avoid making the situation worse.

Periodic maintenance

Regular maintenance helps your car operate performance, compliance with the maintenance schedule given by the manufacturer will minimize severe damage to your vehicle, thereby costing each repair as well will be greatly reduced. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes to check simple details such as coolant, lubricating oil, engine… It is recommended to maintain such a checkup at least once a month. 

Note for unusual symptoms

Early detection of signs when your car broke down can help you avoid unnecessary repair costs. Through warning signs, drivers can know what problems happen to their cars. and need to be fixed soon, avoiding major consequences. Some signs you can easily recognize and tell you  that your car is having problems such as:

  • The engine makes strange noises
  • Overheating gauge
  • Car shakes when driving
  • The engine suddenly stops working when accelerating or idling.
  • Check Engine light is one of the error signals on cars

When detecting signs of a damaged car, car owners should check to find the cause and handle it as soon as possible. Because if left for a long time, these errors will not only affect the operation but also can become serious. More difficult to repair, and have higher remedial costs.

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Start the car properly.

It is the premise to help limit the wear and tear of engine parts, and prolong the life of the car, thereby reducing car maintenance costs. Accordingly, drivers should not run the car immediately after starting. Wait for about 1 minute for the parts to be fully lubricated, and then accelerate gently. In addition, when driving, drivers should maintain a stable speed, limit braking, and steer sharply to ensure safe operation.

Final Thoughts.

In the article, we shared with you the reason why are car repairs so expensive today. And some simple methods to avoid the incurred repair costs. Hopefully, the information will be useful for you. Let’s follow up on the next article for Car From Japan!