Sales were up in April at Advance Auto Parts, its CEO said this week, a sign that a lot of people are at home with time on their hands, time they are using to work on their cars.
Americans have taken stay-home orders as a cue to do more wrenching on their rides, CEO Tom Greco said on the company’s earnings call. Advance Auto’s do-it-yourself repair business is strong, replacement car-battery sales are brisk and consumers are taking breaks from streaming to scrub down their vehicles.
“You’ve got people sitting in their homes and you can only watch so much Netflix,” Greco said. “You decide what to do and you go outside maybe you fix something in your yard or maybe you work on your car.”
It makes sense, of course, since DIY [insert almost anything] is up in these trying times, since it is both cheap and gives you something to do.
Our own David Tracy says that he’s purchased more parts in the past few months than maybe ever—though I’m not sure why now would be any different for him compared to normal times—but I digress.
“I’m swimming in shock absorbers and timing chains [right now],” he said the other day, which doesn’t sound very safe.
This is also the part where I reveal my deepest, darkest secret (that isn’t really a secret at all): I’m pretty useless in the garage, mainly because I don’t have one. I live in New York City, and unless you want to pay $300 or $400 a month for a space—which I can’t really justify, given that I earn a blogger’s salary—my options are wrenching on the street (not stressful at all to be on your back underneath your car with other cars whizzing by) or, yes, taking it to a shop. Which is a long way of saying that I know a guy in Brooklyn.
This is also a long way of saying that I don’t wrench out of lack of interest—my dad went to trade school to study automotive repair and was forever tooling around in our garage on a series of shitty cars we had growing up. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but the apple also moved from Ohio to a crowded, expensive city and became ensconced, mainly out of self-sabotage.
All of THAT out of the way, I would love to see what everyone is working on! Because even though I can’t wrench myself I still love to read about other people’s projects, mainly to indulge my fantasy that one day, someday, it’ll just be me and the cars.