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Rising costs of parts and service a new reality for vehicle owners

Vinnie’s Mr Fixit says preventative maintenance is key to extending vehicle life

The original concept for the Ford Model T was to design a simple, durable, easy to operate and affordable vehicle that could “put the world on wheels.” If only Henry Ford knew where those costs would be at in 2022 he might have reconsidered his invention.

Due to the mass production of the vehicle, the original Model Ts sold in 1908 could be purchased for as low as $260. Today you’d be hard-pressed to get a pair of top quality radial tires for that amount. The simple fact is, everything related to the operation of new and used vehicles has – and will continue – to go up. That’s a reality that people who rely on their vehicles are simply going to have to face.

“Whether it’s parts or repairs or purchase price, everything across the board has gone up,” said Vince Klimkosz, owner of the two locations of Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-it in Guelph. “We’re finding more people who are having real difficulty in maintaining the vehicles.”

There are many factors impacting prices on parts and service in the automotive sector.

For starters, the pandemic led to production constraints for new vehicles, including plant closures caused by COVID-19 outbreaks and a slowdown in the production of semiconductor chips around the globe.

With access to new cars limited, buyers turned to the used vehicle market. As consumers filled satisfied their appetites for new vehicles with used vehicles, demand outpaced supply and led the cost of used vehicles rising at a higher rate than those of new vehicles. Add in rising inflation and a slowly creeping interest rate – plus a growing list of buyers for a limited number of new cars – and the factors are in place to cause escalating prices in the automobile industry, which is not immune to such market forces.

Another factor in the rising costs is that automobile manufacturers are in the process of migrating away from internal combustion engines in favour of all-electric or hybrid alternatives. Many of these new models are taking longer to reach dealerships across Canada.

As a result, it’s more important than ever to keep your current vehicle well-maintained despite the rise in the cost of parts, which continue to increase by as much as five to seven percent per year.

According to Klimkosz, there are many proactive steps you can take to ensure your used vehicle is running at maximum efficiency, especially with the approach of the demanding winter driving season.

“Now is always a good time to think about doing your tire swaps,” he suggested. “With the swap if you can afford to take your vehicle into a proper garage it’s highly recommended. They can take your wheels off, inspect your brakes and front end. A lot of the quick lubes and mobile guys can swap your tires out, but taking it to a shop to have a fully licensed technician look at your vehicle is still the best way to go.”

An important part of a tire swap is a follow up visit to the shop where you had it done to have them complete a proper wheel torque. Klimkosz said that it’s an important safety precaution to have newly installed tires retorqued after driving 80 to 100 kilometres. Other important safety precautions include wiper blade checks, light inspections, proper tire inflation, and engine air and cabin filter replacement.

“Changing the cabin air filter if the vehicle has one makes a big difference in the air quality inside the car. You should also pop the hood and remove any leaves and debris that could get into your heater air inlet and make it work hard. If the air flow is plugged up you will have poor heater performance”

For full automotive service and advice, visit Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-It online. Or drop by either of their two Guelph locations: 30 Hayes Avenue, or 41 Woodlawn Road West.