Jul 09, 2023

Why does it cost so much to get your car repaired? Experts weigh in.

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the June Consumer Price Index (CPI), it noted that car repair costs were up over 19% in the last 12 months.

Inflation has made everything more expensive but why is it that car repair costs are surging? Gareth Boyd, editor of the automotive website, says several factors are contributing to car repair inflation.

“Firstly, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains worldwide, resulting in parts shortages that drove up prices,” Boyd told ConsumerAffairs. “Secondly, due to the same supply chain issues, there's been an increase in demand for used vehicles, which typically require more maintenance and repair than new ones.”

Boyd also says labor costs have risen as there simply aren’t enough skilled mechanics at auto repair shops.

Tanveen Vohra, manager of content and communication at Insurify, adds that replacement parts are more sophisticated and thus, more expensive. But there are other factors as well.

“Material costs, such as the price of steel, aluminum, and rubber, have increased due to global supply chain issues that have plagued the industry for the last few years,” she told us.

Not only is a visit to an auto repair shop pretty expensive, many people find it unpleasant. A study by American Trucks found that a third of car owners believe they had been cheated on at least one occasion when they had their vehicles repaired. The survey found that driving an expensive car made you more likely to be scammed.

The high cost of car repairs raises the question about the value of service contracts, or “extended warranties.” Boyd says the current environment makes them more attractive.

“They can provide peace of mind for consumers, knowing that they won't face a large unexpected repair bill,” he said. “However, they're not a one-size-fits-all solution. It's crucial to read the fine print and understand what's covered, as some contracts have exclusions that might surprise you.”

Vohra agrees that high repair costs are a good reason to take another look at an extended warranty. But she says there are additional things car owners can do to protect themselves.

“It's also a good idea to add comprehensive and collision coverage to your car insurance policy,” she told us. “While an extended warranty can help with mechanical breakdowns, a full coverage car insurance policy will cover damages stemming from collisions, weather damage, vandalism, and so on.”

If you're interested in shopping for an extended auto warranty, the ConsumerAffairs research team has done a lot of the work for you.

Quick and easy. Get matched with an Auto Warranty partner.

Mark Huffman has been a consumer news reporter for ConsumerAffairs since 2004. He covers real estate, gas prices and the economy and has reported extensively on negative-option sales. He was previously an Associated Press reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., a correspondent for Westwoood One Radio Networks and Marketwatch.