Very often, you hear claims that in the USA, there are entire junkyards filled with almost brand-new cars. They say that Americans are quite extravagant and simply throw away cars instead of repairing them. But is this really the case, or is someone looking at American life through rose-colored glasses?

You shouldn’t think that Americans don’t repair cars. They do, both by themselves and in repair shops. However, situations where it’s easier to get rid of a broken-down car than to try to salvage it through the efforts of mechanics are indeed widespread. This is especially true among representatives of the so-called “middle class,” who earn enough to cover the purchase of a new car within a couple of months. By the way, in this regard, car dealerships and banks in the USA are ready to help with a rich bouquet of credit and leasing services.

But how can buying a car be more advantageous than repairing it? In reality, it’s quite simple. Firstly, the American auto repair business is a highly specialized field. Secondly, major car repairs in the USA are very expensive. Parts in dollars cost almost as much as in Russia, but the labor costs are significantly higher for various reasons. However, high service prices are not the only issue. To understand what’s going on, we need to delve into the specifics.

Repair in the USA

The automotive repair market in the USA is divided into three segments. The first is “new car dealerships,” where new cars are serviced under warranty. Here, they will repair and replace anything needed. However, there’s a small catch. The quality of service and warranty coverage depends on the customer’s wallet. If you’ve paid a hefty sum for your car, be prepared not only for repairs but also for a foot massage at the service center. Needless to say, the treatment of budget car buyers is not as welcoming.

The second segment consists of large auto repair chains. It’s most appropriate to compare them to fast-food restaurants. Here, you’ll be “fed” quickly and satisfactorily, but no one cares about your car’s long-term health. Large repair companies willingly handle maintenance and minor repairs. Fixing scratches, changing “consumables,” and fluids? Easy! However, when it comes to major repairs, these service centers either refuse to do the work or charge astronomical fees for their services. Why? Because major repairs are always an unjustified risk (for the company), an unnecessary headache, and substantial time and resource investments. For businesses, it’s much more profitable to “fix” 10 cars by changing their filters and oil than to struggle with one major repair.

The third segment comprises private auto repair shops. These workshops are typically started by former employees of large auto repair chains. There are many such shops, often found on every corner in some cities. However, these shops usually have a small workforce, inexpensive equipment, and, consequently, work completion times can be quite lengthy. Despite the abundance of private shops, finding an available one can be challenging. These folks, unlike large chains, are willing to take on any job, including the most complex repairs.

As a result, the average American, who has a broken-down car, often faces a tough choice: pay a hefty price for major repairs, wait for an available slot at a private workshop, or simply buy a new car.


This is partly because public transportation in America is not as well-developed as in Europe and the former Soviet Union. Moreover, Americans don’t just throw away their broken or damaged cars; they sell them to insurance companies. The insurers primarily buy cars for subsequent dismantling and use as parts donors. By the way, cars in US junkyards are not ownerless. Almost always, these are junkyards owned by repair shops that use this “scrap metal” as parts donors.