SIC 7539

This category covers businesses that primarily do specialized automotive repair, not elsewhere classified, such as fuel service (carburetor repair), brake relining, front-end and wheel alignment, and radiator repair. Businesses that primarily do automotive welding are in SIC 7692: Welding Repair.

NAICS Code(s)

811118 (Other Automotive Mechanical and Electrical Repair and Maintenance)

Miscellaneous services done by automotive repair shops included automotive tune-ups, automotive electrical repair, battery and ignition repair, fuel system conversion, generator and starter repair, and brake work. This broad classification had 9,674 businesses in the mid 1990s, many of which were sole proprietorships or partnerships. These shops employed 42,234 people and had annual sales of nearly $3.5 billion in 1997.

As cars became a staple of American life during the mid 1900s, demand for specialized repair services rose. When annual car sales peaked at about 11.5 million annually in the late 1980s, repair shop revenues in this industry reached $2.23 billion in 1987 and industry employment swelled to 40,302. Although most automotive-related industries suffered during the U.S. recession in the late 1980s and early 1990s, repair shops were less affected. As consumers put off buying new cars, they spent more on maintenance and repair, so the industry's sales remained steady. Automotive repair services benefited from the mid 1990s economic recovery as well.

Industry firms generated average revenues of $10 million during 1990s. The majority of shops were local and privately owned, but there also were regional chains that surpassed that median, such as Brake Centers of the Southwest, which had sales of $34.1 million and had 550 employees. In addition, there were industry giants, (many of which were franchises) that generated hundreds of millions of dollars in income, such as Monro Muffler Brake, a Rochester-based company that employed more than 2,100 people and earned $193 million in 1997. Several of these industry giants had products and services that crossed over into other business categories, such as Pep Boys, which offered not only automotive repair services, but also sold auto parts. Pep Boys had sales of $2.3 billion and employed more than 27,000 people in the late 1990s.

Automotive repair jobs were expected to rise at the same rate as the average for all occupations through 2006, according to the Department of Labor. New job openings for mechanics, however, would most likely be filled by technicians with advanced technical or vocational training—especially those with knowledge of electronics and emissions control equipment. Competition would be more intense for entry-level positions.

More than 100 community colleges offered two-year degrees sponsored by the major automobile makers. In addition, the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) certified quality training programs offered by high schools and technical schools. In the mid 1990s, mechanics earned a median income between $333 and $667 weekly. Less-skilled mechanics earned less than $250 per week. Master mechanics can earn between $70,000-$100,000 annually.

Further Reading

Dun & Bradstreet Directory of Service Companies 2000. Murray Hill, NJ: 1999.

Information Please Almanac. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

U.S. Department of Commerce. 1997 Census of Service Industries & Geographic Area Series. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of the Census, 1999.

U.S. Department of Commerce. U.S. Census Bureau. 1997 NAICS Definitions. Available from .

U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 1998-1999 Edition. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1999.

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