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As Economy Stumbles Along, Car Repair Businesses Are Booming

(An auto repair garage.  File photo)

(An auto repair garage. File photo)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

AAA Mid-Atlantic is out with a survey that finds more and more motorists are putting off buying a new car, opting instead to go the repair route.

Hugh Snyderman, a third-generation auto mechanic with a repair shop in Old City Philadelphia, says his business is terrific, but probably for the wrong reason.

He believes the tough economy is forcing many of his customers to put off that shopping trip to the dealership.

“Everyobody’s trying to stay away from the payments,” Snyderman tells KYW Newsradio. “That’s what’s going on now. I can remember years ago, we had a car come in and the odometer would turn and we’d see it turn over because they didn’t have the digit for a hundred thousand.  And it was like, ‘Come here, you gotta see this. This car’s gonna turn over!’   Now I can go to twelve cars on the lot that have a 100,000 miles.”

Jenny Robinson of AAA says that over the past four years there has been a steady increase in vehicles needing roadside service.

“The typical age of a vehicle needing AAA roadside service was six years old, and now the average age of a vehicle is nine years old,” she says.  “So people are obviously keeping their cars longer and longer.”

Now, the number one reason for an emergency call is the car won’t run and needs to be towed.  Dead batteries are the number two reason, followed by tire problems.

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