Auto repair shops see backups as state inspection deadline approaches

Posted at 6:07 AM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 06:28:53-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - There's no other way to put it. Business is booming at AAA Car Care Center in Suffolk right now.

When mechanics get one vehicle out of the garage, there's another waiting to take its place.

"For inspections, we're usually backed up two to three days right now," said Operations Manager Kyle Loftus. "We're part of Napa Auto Group network. I've talked to a lot of those business owners. They're running into the same things."

Loftus tells News 3 after a slow couple of months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he's gotten busier with every phase of reopening.

Summer is typically busy, he says, but with Gov. Ralph Northam's order suspending state inspection enforcement ending July 31, there's been a mad rush of sorts.

"We have all these people trying to get in and get inspections done before that time," he said. "We're able to do about 18-20 inspections a day."

That's not the only pandemic-induced work happening inside the garage.

"We're definitely seeing a lot of battery issues from cars sitting. We're seeing some brakes locking up. When cars sit for a little bit of time, they tend to rust a little bit (and) we get some sticking components," said Loftus.

For any car that's been sitting, Loftus suggests getting the battery tested. Hot weather can also impact tire pressure.

If you have an inspection due and haven't gotten it done yet, Loftus says don't wait.

"Get to your local shop, and AAA is here to service you, before the end," he said.