Many drivers trying to stay ahead on repairs
Some car service shops are seeing customers make certain they get all preventive maintenance done to the cars they have, but others are seeing cash-strapped customers postpone work until they know they have money to take care of routine maintenance.
Tyler Smith, service manager at Midwest Motors in Hillsboro, said few customers are simply bringing in their cars for oil changes. They are making sure extra maintenance is being done while the car is in the shop.
“We’ve actually been doing more maintenance in that people are trying to repair instead of develop a problem,” Smith said. “More preventative maintenance.”
Randy Hagen, co-owner of Hillsboro Ford, said the service side of the business has remained strong.
Hagen said he thought a smaller proportion of county businesses have been sucker-punched by COVID-19 economic downturns.
Service work is always good when the weather is cold, he said.
“People are becoming more aware of doing preventive maintenance all the time,” he added.
Still, he has noticed people are more likely to ask the shop to check and see if their car is in top shape.
“If they feel like something needs checked, they get it checked,” Hagen said.
Barry Allen, owner of Webster Auto Service in Marion, said he has seen some customers delay routine maintenance for economic reasons.
When they got stimulus checks, they brought in their car.
“Especially if they needed a lot of work or a big job, they waited to get that done,” Allen said.
“I know money’s gotten pretty tight for some customers. People have put maintenance off,” Allen said. “It’s not a good thing, but they have put off getting any repairs.”
Allen said putting off routine maintenance can cause later problems with the vehicle.
“Most people are pretty good on their maintenance, but it’s the first thing that goes when money’s tight,” he said. “It’s not a good thing to do, but it sometimes becomes a necessity.”
If routine maintenance is delayed long enough, the car could become inoperable, he said.