Auto shop

Auto shop sees influx of customers fixing used cars

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Inflation continues to rise across the world and right here in Kentucky. This affects the prices of food, gasoline and travel.

Complete Automotive Repair Inc. is a company that is facing an influx of customers looking after their old used cars due to the ever increasing car prices.

Since 1985, Complete Auto Repair Inc. has been a staple in the Lexington community. Lydia Fuller’s father-in-law started it because of the need to provide repair and maintenance services to used car owners.

In 2018, Fuller and her husband took over as co-owners. At the front of the shop is a friendly face you can’t miss. It’s John Parker, who’s been answering the phone at the auto repair shop for twenty years.

Parker is handling client scheduling, which has recently been a daunting task as they are currently booked through April. He and Fuller said they would continue to be booked for weeks because people would rather fix their old car than buy a new one.

“In such situations, they will bring their car and see what it needs. Then they’ll weigh the apples and oranges to see if it’s cheaper to fix this one than to buy a new one. 90% of the time it’s cheaper to fix [used cars] than to replace [used cars]“, Parker said.

Parker is right. Inflation affected new and used cars. the According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the consumer price index for used cars jumped 40.5% from January 2021 to January 2022. Since the start of the pandemic, their store has been filled to the brim with people wanting to repair their used cars , some a few years old and some decades old.

Lydia Fuller, co-owner of Complete Automotive Repair, sits at her desk scheduling repair appointments for customers. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

“Normally they would probably say in the past, well, it costs more to fix than the car is worth, but now they don’t even want to buy even a used car because the prices are so high for them, the people just choose to fix what they have,” Fuller said.

Parker assists Lydia Fuller, the shop’s new owner. She says it’s the busiest they’ve been since she took over the property with her husband from her stepfather in 2018. Being this busy comes at the cost of supply chain scarcity.

“A lot of cars that you see that aren’t on the lifts are waiting for parts and there are a lot of them,” Fuller said.

Customers bring many cars to the auto shop for repairs, requiring everything from engine and transmission repairs to routine maintenance. Fuller says these are all parts that took a day to arrive. Now it’s days and weeks until they see them.

“It’s never the same things that are out of stock, it’s always different items that you wouldn’t expect to be out of stock. This hurts not only us as a company, but also our customers because they need their cars,” Fuller said.

Fuller has had to communicate the difficulties of the pandemic to customers, but they understand because they keep coming back again and again. Complete Automotive Repair Inc. is booked through April, while other auto shops in Lexington, including Quantrell Collision Repairs in Lexington, said they are booked through June.