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Auto repair shops flourish in tough times

Sept. 16, 2011 at 12:30 PM

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. auto repair shops are flourishing as consumers are choosing to fix older cars while facing economic hard times.

"We are busier than a son of a gun, and it's stressful as all hell," said Culver City, Calif., auto mechanic Bob Little, owner of Ed Little Auto Service Inc.

The mechanic says he is making more costly repairs at his shop as customers are trying to hold on to their old cars longer, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

"The past three years have been the best three years ever. The economy has not hurt me at all -- at all. It has helped," Little said. "People aren't buying new cars. They'll put a couple thousand dollars into a car before they buy a new one."

Last year, auto garages reported $36 billion in sales, up 10.5 percent from 2007.

"I figure it is more worth it to pay for a couple of repairs along the way instead of investing in a brand new car," said 2000 Toyota Corolla owner Rebecca Lee, 23.

"There isn't any big mystery here; people are opting for something they think is less expensive than a new vehicle and relying more on their older vehicles," said Ron Pyle, president of the Automotive Service Association.

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