Heat is good business for auto repair shops

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

MARKED TREE, AR (KAIT) – Another day of sweltering temperatures pass and another day passes where local auto repair shops report a boom in business.

According to Rusty's Garage in Marked Tree Wednesday, more residents are bringing in their vehicles with air conditioning problems and faulty radiators.

Rusty Holmes said every time the temperatures get in the triple digits, business picks up for mechanics and sales staff.

"Air conditioners it just seems like it's not getting as cold as they want them to do and a lot of times it's the air flow, not enough air flow across the radiator and the condenser," said Holmes, who owns Rusty's Garage. "Cars come in overheating. Radiators are stopped up or busted. Plastic tanks cracking on them, low on coolant or the air conditioners are not just bringing it down to a comfortable temperature inside the car."

Holmes has been a mechanic since 1969. In 1985, he started up his own business in Marked Tree. He said cars have changed drastically over the years.

"They've really improved a lot in the last 15 years. The quality and there's no junk out there anymore. Every car out there now is at least an A minus," said Holmes. "They're more resilient, the cars now, they don't overheat as bad as they used to but we still have a problem, mostly because of the insects getting into the cooling system."

Holmes said he's worked on seven cars in the last week in which the air conditioning has failed. He said the heat is good for business.

"The temperature already is hot and it just raises up the temperature and the humidity is so bad on them, it's just awful," said Holmes. "We probably have six or seven cars being worked on right now. Anywhere from front suspension work to air conditioner work, there's a couple in there, and we just got through with a couple of cars we had to put new radiators on."

Pam Tacker, who works in the store, said sales have increased more than 75% since the most recent heat wave began. She said customers pay an average of $300-$500 for air conditioner repair work.

"It'd be probably the compressors for the air conditioners," said Tacker. "They need their air. It's hot. They don't care. Fix their air."

Tacker said the shop has seen more customers this summer compared to last year. She said that's because this summer seems hotter than last.

"We try to look around and get them a good deal to, you know, I mean we know how it is, they want their air fixed," said Tacker. "It's a need to basis to have it done because of the economy you know and if it's something that has to be done, taken care of, then yeah, they come in. a lot of them are probably delaying it as long as they can."

Holmes said the shop has increased its inventory, something all NAPA franchises do during the warm months.

"We've increased our inventory on our air conditioners and our radiators, water pumps and stuff like that, hoses and belts," said Holmes.

©2010 KAIT All rights reserved.