Local car mechanics seeing more business as people opt to keep older cars - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Local car mechanics seeing more business as people opt to keep older cars

Today, the big three automakers were back on the hill, asking lawmakers for a little relief. Automakers are pleading for $25 billion to continue pumping out new cars and trucks. Meanwhile, many Americans are just doing what they can to hold on to the vehicles they have. As KLTV 7's Layron Livingston tells us, the garage door at your local repair shop is open, and the shop bay is filling up.

It's a tight squeeze inside Bud Jones' Garage in Tyler, because it's full of late '90 and early 2000 model year cars.

Throughout the past several weeks, mechanics here say business is booming.

"Before, it was basic jobs...your typical brake jobs and belts and hoses and minor stuff, but we are starting to see a lot of major jobs," said Angelo Lopez, an automotive technician.

It's a similar story over at Leon Gossett's garage.

"The way the economy is right now, people have to repair more cars than before," said Gossett.

Nowadays, folks are trying to get as many miles as possible out of their cars,  opting instead to just replace their engines and transmissions altogether. We ran into Jeremy Burr, who was looking for parts for his '98 pickup.

"I can't afford a new car," said Jeremy.

And he's not the only one. Nationwide, new car sales recently fell below the million mark for the first time in over a decade, down nearly 30% last month.

"We've lost a car, just a couple or three months ago. We couldn't afford the payments any more...that with insurance and gas, all of it just combined. My wife has been out of work since January....it's rough," said Jeremy.

And until things smooth out, mechanics expect the cars to keep coming in.

"I don't see it changing for a while," said Lopez.

"Like everybody else, you've got to do what you've got to do to stay afloat," said Gossett.

"It's a lot easier than looking at a 5-6 year note that you're not sure you're going to get through a year and a half of," said Jeremy.

Today, Senate majority leader Harry Reid called off a planned vote for the proposed auto bailout. The White House and congressional Republicans rejected the Democrats' plan to dip in to the $700 billion Wall Street rescue fund to finance loans to US automakers.

Layron Livingston, reporting. llivingston@kltv.com  

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