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Posts Tagged ‘auto repair costs’

It’s No Beer Can – But Ford Must Convince Consumers Aluminum F-150 is Rugged, Durable, Affordable

Perceptions important - but Ford must also bring repair shops onboard.

by on Jan.21, 2014

Ford needs to make customers feel comfortable with the new aluminum-intensive design of the 2015 F-150.

Few new models have drawn more headlines lately, and there have been long lines to view the new Ford F-150 at the North American International Auto Show, where the 2015 pickup made its debut last week.

The question is whether the new full-size truck will be the year’s big success story or one of the auto industry’s historic failures.  The 2015 F-150 shifts from a traditional steel body to one made of lightweight aluminum, a move that is expected to yield significant improvements in fuel economy.  But the new approach has some potential serious risks, industry observers caution, that could cut into Ford’s traditional lead in a market segment that generated close to 2 million sales last year.

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While Ford is expected to promote the savings on fuel the new F-150 should yield, the automaker’s marketing manager, Doug Scott, also concedes that truck buyers tend to track costs much more closely than most other vehicle buyers. And one of the key questions is whether the use of aluminum will result in higher long-term operating costs, most notably in terms of durability, reliability and all but inevitable repairs.


The Most Expensive – and Cheapest – States to Get Your Car Repaired

Don't break down in New Jersey.

by on Jun.12, 2013

How much does your mechanic charge? It can vary wildly depending upon where you live.

When that “check engine” light come on, there’s a good reason to get worried.  Even if it doesn’t leave you stranded in an unfamiliar part of town after dark it’s likely to take a bite out of your savings, especially as recent studies have indicated automotive repair costs rose by about 10% last year.

That is, of course, an average that varied significantly by region. Indeed, Vermont actually saw repair costs decline last year, according to a new study by automotive service site CarMD, making it America’s  most affordable place to take your car in.  At the other extreme was New Jersey where the typical visit to a service shop cost almost 50% more than in Vermont.

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Traditionally, the West Coast is the place where repairs have been most expensive.  But in its latest annual car-repair cost survey, CarMD found only California among the Top Five, the rest of those spots filled by states along the Eastern Seaboard, including not only NJ but North Carolina, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Indeed, repairs in the Northeast rose 11.6% in 2012, faster than the rest of the country, according to a study of 161,000 repairs.


Cost of Ownership Rises 2%, Now Over $9,100 a Year

Average motorists will spend over 60 cents a mile.

by on Apr.16, 2013

It will cost you more than $9,000 to own and operate the typical sedan this year, says a new AAA study.

Now that you’ve got your taxes done, perhaps it’s time to sit down and work out your automotive budget.  But a quick estimate by AAA suggests you’ll spend an average $9,122 on your car this year – an increase of nearly 2% over 2012.

Costs vary widely, of course, depending upon factors such as what and where you drive, along with the ups-and-downs of fuel prices. But the typical sedan owner who clocks 15,000 miles a year should budget 60.8 cents a mile, according to the latest annual “Your Driving Costs” study from AAA.

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“Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase” of about 1.17 cents a mile compared to the 2012 study.


Wyoming Has Highest Auto Repair Costs

An ounce of prevention.

by on Jun.26, 2012

Repair costs vary widely, not only by brand but also by location, according to a new study.

We all know that it can rapidly drain your wallet getting repairs done on some of the more exotic imports, but even for mainstream brands repair costs can quickly add up if you’re out of warranty.  And a new study suggests that no matter what product you own costs will vary widely depending upon where you live.

Somewhat surprisingly, though, it’s not New York or California that top the list, according to a new survey by auto repair website CarMD.  A study based on 163,000 repairs made by ASE-certified technicians found that Wyoming motorists paid the highest cost in the country for repairs triggered by that dreaded dashboard “Check Engine” warning light.

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On average, repairs averaged $389.18 for Wyoming residents, about 17% more than the national average.  By comparison, the lowest-cost shops were located in Indiana, where repairs for the same work came in at about $100 less – an average $283.95.

Curiously, nine of the 10 most expensive states were located out West, according to CarMD, the exception being tenth-ranked New Jersey.


Independent Shops Fighting Dealers and Ex-Dealers for Your Service Business

As new car dealerships close, some are converting to used car sales and general repairs. Consumers should benefit.

by on Jun.05, 2009

Electronic diagnostic tools are expensive and specialized.

Electronic diagnostic tools for computerized cars are expensive and often specialized by brand.

More than 130,000 independent repair shops are bracing for the effects of the closings of thousands of Chrysler and General Motors new car dealers. A study by consulting firm Grant Thornton says that 20% of car dealerships in the United States are projected to close in 2009.

An unknown number of closed dealerships are likely to continue in the business of servicing vehicles and selling used cars, with a new concentration on repair work now that the factory-financed warranty claims will no longer provide a source of revenue.

It is very unfortunate that so many dealerships will be closing this year,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Because a vehicle is the second biggest investment for most car owners, they want it serviced by someone they trust. It makes sense to take the time to select a new auto repair facility that will take the best care of their investment.”

In general, the effect on the repair market for consumers should be positive, since competition — in theory — will bring down the price of repairs. At a minimum, ex-dealers will have the latest service equipment and the residual effects of factory training going for them. As electronics and onboard computers have completely taken over the monitoring and control of critical areas of a vehicle – brakes, tire pressure, steering, air bags, fuel delivery, ignition, oil change intervals, theft prevention, emission controls, among others – a shop with the latest technical knowledge can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Countering this need for up-to-date information, is the widely held belief that dealers charge much more for repairs than independent shops, which is confirmed by surveys.”

As we last reported, on average dealership repairs cost 34% more than at independent shops. If you aren’t careful, you could end up paying too much for their services for equivalent work. This comes from a study from the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. It maintains that consumers paid $11.7 billion too much last year for parts and service. That’s a trend you don’t want to participate in.

Given such pricing disparities, it is not surprising that independent repair businesses account for more than 70% of vehicle service and repair, compared to 28% of non-warranty repairs by new car dealerships. Even before the accelerated dealership closings that started late last year, the number of dealerships and their share of the service and repair market have gradually declined each year since 2000, according to AAIA.    (more…)