MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — If you think the wait time to get your car repaired seems longer than usual, you’re not alone.
Shops along the Grand Strand say they are feeling the pressure from a nationwide shortage of automotive technicians.
At C & G Auto & Truck in Myrtle Beach, the service manager said it’s a constant flow of work, with more vehicles coming in for repair than the business has seen in years.
There are two big reasons for that. First, there are a lot more older vehicles on the road, and older vehicles need more maintenance.
“People can’t really afford to buy brand new cars right now, C & G Service Manager Lyle Roberts said. “So they’re having to fix what they got and keep it for a while. The new cars are a lot more expensive. They’re more expensive than they ever have been. The economy is not there to support buying a $1,000-a-month car.”
Secondly, there is a shortage of technicians.
“It started in the early 2000s when every high school in the nation said ‘you gotta go to college, you gotta go to college, you gotta go to college.'” Roberts said. “And they stopped focusing on the trades jobs.”
The National Automobile Dealers Association backs that up. The trade group said about 76,000 auto tech shops open up every year, but only 39,000 workers are coming out of technical colleges and training programs.
“It’s hard to find good techs,” Roberts said. “It’s put a hurt on the trades industry because, I mean, this ain’t something that you learn out of a textbook. It’s something you learn growing up and hands-on.”
The combination of a shortage of parts, technicians, more complex technology and older vehicles on the road is creating a perfect storm, and while the wait time for repairs might be a little bit longer in the shops, patience is the key when it comes to your vehicle.
“Your car is the second biggest investment you’ll make in life just below your home,” Roberts said. “And it also keeps you and your son, your family safe. It’s gotta be done right before it can leave our shop. That way everyone’s safe on the road.”
Roberts said regular maintenance like an oil change or tire rotation shouldn’t take longer than usual. However, a bigger job like an engine replacement could take some extra time.
Taylor Maresca is the weekend morning anchor and morning reporter at News13. She joined the team in June 2022 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Taylor is from Houston. Follow Taylor on X, formerly Twitter, and read more of her work here.