Autotrader: Why is it so hard to find an auto mechanic these days?

If you’ve been ignoring a “time for service” message on your car’s dashboard, you might want to act on it. Car dealers and auto repair shops have had a tough time hiring mechanics, which means wait times for an appointment may stretch into days or even weeks for some popular shops.

Compounded with limited supply of certain parts, the situation for drivers with older cars in need of repair can be stressful — especially for those who don’t want to take on a major repair themselves.

Also see: Do electric cars cost more to insure?

The Seattle Times profiled car repair shops that have dangled incentives as high as $1,000 to lure mechanics to their rosters. And a quick look at job postings reveals dozens or more shops attempting to hire mechanics in every city.

As with so many other industries, the shortage comes down to a number of factors, including recently expired pandemic-era federal unemployment benefits. However, repair shops were considered “essential businesses” nearly everywhere. While the need for car repairs likely tapered last spring, the amount of miles drivers are putting on their cars is up, as is demand for both new and used vehicles.

See: Keep your car running longer with this maintenance checklist

Mechanics tend to be paid hourly, and many shops require that they supply their own tools — a costly ask that can result in a mountain of debt due to high interest payments. That, combined with the challenges involved in repairing increasingly complex newer vehicles, has discouraged would-be technicians from even pursuing the kind of training needed to keep cars on the road.

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