“For the average consumer, driving a vehicle is going to cost you more in 2021.”
That’s according to Vince Klimkosz, owner of the two locations of Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-it in Guelph. As Ontario slowly emerges from one of the most lengthy lock-down periods in the world, the impact the pandemic has had on all things automotive is going to be significant.
“Fuel prices have gone up, and maintenance prices have gone up a lot,” said Klimkosz. “There’s also a huge shortage of trained technicians to work on these vehicles. We can’t get enough skilled workers. The few that are left will be charging a premium to work on vehicles. That means higher costs for the consumer.”
As more drivers start going mobile and their cars emerge from COVID vacations, Klimkosz said they will be faced with price increases and scarcities when it comes to parts required for repairs and maintenance.
“Anything that uses metal or any kind of steel has dramatically gone up in price because steel is at an all-time high,” said Klimkosz. “But there’s also been a lot of part shortages at the dealer level and the aftermarket as well. The supply is depleted. A lot of the big manufacturing plants have cut production or shut down. There’s talk we may even have trouble getting certain types of tires this winter during snow tire a season.”
Klimkosz says consumers should expect an across the board price increase of between two and five percent on tires starting July 1st, as the supply chain from Chinese tire manufactures has slowed during the pandemic. Computer chips are another part in short supply, and Klimkosz said that has reduced production of new cars and trucks.
“There’s a bit of a shortage of new cars because of the computer chip shortage, and it’s kind of driven the price of used cars up as much as 20 and 30 percent,” he said. “Even prices at auction are up $2000 to $3000 more. Even smaller used car lots are finding it hard to find used cars and prices are higher.”
For vehicle owners who may begin driving more, Klimkosz said it’s important to have a local mechanic or service shop to complete a general inspection to ensure the car is in safe working order.
“We do see quite a few with brakes that haven’t been used much, with dead batteries or a lot of animal damage,” he said. “For a vehicle that has sat in the driveway for weeks at a time we are finding mouse nests, critter nests and chewed wires. Wildlife always finds a way in.”
Vinnies Mr. Fix-It has been vigilant with COVID safety measures throughout the pandemic, and Klimkosz said the shop has been lucky not to have suffered any shut downs. He says business is slower than it was prior to the lockdowns, but he does anticipate increased requests for servicing.
“If you are looking at service, we can usually get you in within a few days. I would recommend if your vehicle has been sitting for a considerable amount of time to start and you’re starting to commute again, bring it in to your mechanic and have them do a once over tires, brakes, and the front end. Even when sitting they’re rusting and rotting. Sometimes a sitting vehicle is worse than one being driven every day.”
For more information or to book your spring maintenance, visit Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-It online at vinniesmrfixit.com. Or drop by either of their two Guelph locations: 30 Hayes Avenue, or 41 Woodlawn Road West.