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  • Last modified 51 days ago (July 29, 2021)

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Repair business, prices both on the rise

Staff writer

As COVID-19 restrictions open up and many people might travel more, prices of some auto supplies are increasing and some are getting harder to get.

David Leith, owner of Leith Service in Marion, said tires have not necessarily been difficult to get in, but prices are shooting up.

“There have been a couple times it has taken longer than normal, but no major issues there,” he said. “The problem is, they already went up 6% in April and they’re going up another 8% in August.”

The same holds true for engine oil, Freon, and parts.

“Mobile One Synthetic Oil is going up 12%. The other oils have gone up a little,” he said.

Last year’s COVID-19 restrictions took a 21% bite out of his business, but demand is now more like normal, Leith said.

“I’ve seen an increase in repair work,” he said. “I think it’s back to normal now that everybody is out and about.”

Barry Allen, owner of Webster Auto Service in Marion, also said he’d had little trouble getting tires, but parts have been a problem, especially electronic parts.

“I think a lot of manufacturers lost workers and their stock dwindled down,” Allen said.

Parts he would not expect to be hard to find have become so.

“Just here lately, I was trying to get an oil filter for a newer KIA,” he said. “I couldn’t get one through the normal sources, so I called the dealer in Wichita. He said they’d been out of those for quite a while.”

Allen also noted prices of supplies going up.

“I just got a notice the other day that 10 different tire companies were increasing the prices,” he said.

This will be the second tire price increase this year, and usually there is one price increase a year.

Engine oil has gone up monthly, Allen said.

“I just got notified about my oil prices and they are going up again,” he said.

Some brands have gone up as much as 20%, Allen said.

Like Leith said, people doing less traveling caused reduced demand for his repair services, but now that things have opened up, business has come up as well.

Allen said his volume of business is close to pre-pandemic levels.

“We’ve had trouble getting in engines, diesel parts, filters, and a variety of smaller parts,” said Dennis Frantz, parts manager at Hillsboro Ford. “It’s in general, a little bit of everything.”

He said manufacturers that had to shut down because of COVID are now struggling to get employees back.

The issue doesn’t seem to be worse with any particular brand.

The price of delivery service is also going up, he said.

“The price of fuel is going up, so they’re adding a surcharge on it for the delivery of stuff,” Frantz said.

Service business at the Ford dealership is also back to pre-pandemic levels — if not higher.

“We’re booked out over four weeks,” he said. "It’s come up tremendously.”

Last modified July 29, 2021

 

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