WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida is now the fourth-most expensive state to own a new car, according to Forbes. On top of that, the number of Americans missing car loan payments is now at its highest rate in a decade, according to credit repair specialists.
"Car parts have gone up substantially over the last year and a half, two years," Ron Katz, owner of a Midas auto shop in West Palm Beach, said.
Katz told WPTV that's one of several issues the automobile industry and vehicle owners are facing right now.
"When everybody was paying very high prices the last year or two for cars because of the demand on them, they got a higher loan because of it," Katz said. "Now what's happening is, with the economy being the way it is, it's either putting food on the table or paying a car payment."
According to Forbes, from repair costs to insurance premiums, it now costs almost $11,000 per year to own and operate a new car. That's up about 11% from 2021.
"Consumers are starting to drown in their debt as opposed to being able to kind of float," Paul Oster, a credit repair specialist with Better Qualified, told WPTV. "We're in a little bit of trouble."
Oster said, in these inflationary times, the number of Americans missing their monthly car loan payment is now at its highest rate in a decade.
He said that's partially because supply chain issues are still driving up the price of a new car and car parts.
"Unfortunately, we've seen this before and auto payments, specifically delinquent auto payments, are usually one of the first shoes to drop," Oster said.
Oster said if consumers are missing these loan payments consistently, they should be focusing on their budget.
"Update, or please, if you don't have a household budget, now is the time to put one into place," Oster said.
Also, Oster said consumers should work toward paying off their credit cards with higher interest rates now to start digging themselves out of debt.
"Consumers cannot just sit back and hope for the best, because if they're not proactive, it's going to be much harder for them to get out of this," Oster said.
Especially during a time when goods and services, like car maintenance, according to Katz, aren't getting any cheaper.
"A brake job, as an example, used to be, say, $150," Katz said. "Now, it's almost $250 for the same brake job, because you can't get the parts."