LEXINGTON, Ky. — Inflation continues to rise across the world and right here in Kentucky. It’s affecting prices of food, gas and travel.

Complete Automotive Repair Inc. is one business dealing with an influx of customers taking care of their older, used cars because of the rising increase in car prices.

What You Need To Know

  • Complete Automotive Repair Inc. has repaired used cars in Lexington since 1985

  • The shop has been co-owned by Lydia Fuller and her husband after she took ownership from her father-in-law in 2018

  • Fuller says her shop is so busy because people are fixing their used cars because of the rising prices of purchasing a new one

  • John Parker serves as the auto repair shop’s general manager, and assists Fuller with daily operations 

Since 1985, Complete Automotive Repair Inc. has been a staple of the Lexington community. Lydia Fuller’s father-in-law started it because of the need to provide repair and maintenance to used car owners.

In 2018, Fuller and her husband took over as co-owners. At the front of the shop is a friendly face you can’t miss. It’s John Parker, who’s been answering the phone at the auto repair shop for twenty years.

Parker handles scheduling customers, which lately has been quite the task since they are currently booked until April. He and Fuller said they will continue to be booked out for weeks because people would rather fix their old car than purchase a new one.

“In situations like that, they’ll bring their car in and see what it needs. Then they’ll weigh the apples to oranges to see if it’s cheaper to fix this one than it is to buy a new one. 90% of the time it’s cheaper to fix [used cars] than it is to replace [used cars],” said Parker.

Parker’s right. Inflation has affected new and used cars. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the consumer price index for used cars has jumped by 40.5% from January 2021 to January 2022. Since the start of the pandemic, their shop has been filled to the brim with people wanting to fix their used cars, some a couple years old and others decades old.

Lydia Fuller, co-owner of Complete Automotive Repair, sits at her desk to schedule customers for repair appointments. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

“Normally they would probably say in the past, well it cost more to fix than the car is worth but now they don’t even want to buy even a used car because the prices are so high on them, people are just choosing to fix what they have,” said Fuller.

Parker assists Lydia Fuller–the new owner of the shop. She says it’s the busiest they’ve been since she took ownership with her husband from her father-in-law in 2018. Being this busy comes at the cost of the supply chain shortage.

“A lot of the cars that you see that aren’t on the lifts are waiting for parts and there’s a lot of them,” said Fuller.

Customers bring many cars to the auto shop for repairs, needing everything from engine and transmission repair to routine maintenance. Fuller says those are all parts that used to take one day to arrive. Now, it’s days and weeks until they see them.

“It’s never the same things that are out of stock, it’s always just different items that you wouldn’t expect to be out of stock. That hurts not just us as a business, but it hurts our clients because they need their cars,” said Fuller.

Fuller has had to communicate pandemic difficulties to customers, but they understand because they’re continuing to come back time and time again. Complete Automotive Repair Inc. is booked until April, while other auto shops in Lexington, including Quantrell Collision Repairs in Lexington, said they are booked until June.