Auto Service World
News   December 12, 2023   by Adam Malik

Why mobile repair is outpacing DIFM


Image credit: Depositphotos.com

The barriers to mobile vehicle repair are coming down and the market is now growing at a much faster pace than the do-it-for-me segment, a recent report found.

From 2016-2020, the mobile repair market grew 16 per cent annually — then twice that pace the next two years, reported Lang Marketing.

“Between 2016 and 2022, mobile repair climbed at an annual pace more than ten times faster than the overall DIFM light vehicle market,” it said in its report, Mobile Repair Surges Ten Times DIFM Pace.

There used to be three key barriers, ones that were believed would insulate vehicle repair from disruption: The need for hands-on technician diagnosis, required parts at the place of repair and the value of a personal relationship between vehicle owners and repair outlets.

But that’s changed now. Advancing technology and the differing values of younger generations have played roles in significantly altering how consumers decide when and where to have their vehicles repaired.

“The rapid growth of mobile repair has demonstrated that the barriers to auto repair disruption are no longer as formidable as once thought,” Lang’s report said.

Mobile repair, it observed, can perform more than 85 per cent of repairs in one visit to the client, with an expanding range of repairs coming.

“Mobile operations are broadening the scope of repairs they perform by having customers answer a series of questions to determine what is wrong with their vehicle,” Lang said. “In this way, mobile repair operations are reducing the need for ‘hands-on’ diagnostics by brick-and-mortar technicians across an expanding range of repairs.”

Operators are addressing diagnostic issues with artificial intelligence and the development of massive databases of vehicle symptoms.

Then, mobile technicians can bring the needed repair parts to the site of the vehicle.

“Even brick-and-mortar repair outlets often discover the need for additional parts once a job is underway and related issues are uncovered,” Lang’s report observed. “In these cases, parts are purchased from local sources. In the same way, mobile repair operators can obtain additional parts required as the repair job develops.”

And with the younger demographics putting less value into face-to-face relationships, that competitive advantage for physical shops is diminishing, the report noted.


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4 Comments » for Why mobile repair is outpacing DIFM
  1. Jp says:

    Unfortunately the lack of proper testing and diagnosis is a huge plague on our industry. This article should be about the rise in mobile diagnostic technicians due to the rampant incompetence of too many shops and the technicians that work for them. Diagnosis over the phone is as ridiculous as is promoting it by writing an article supporting it.

  2. Ever notice how articles about mobile repairs are always showing a nice sunny day with people wearing just a shirt. Try diagnosing a vehicle and repairing it at minus 35 to minus 40 degree weather that we get here in Canada. Your hands will freeze before you even get to scan codes. So if you are in Arizona, California, or Texas, you may not need a brick and mortar location, but for most of us, I like to work in my heated shop and not freeze to death.

  3. We have a Mobile service, but in most cases, the vehicle has to come to the shop anyway for the repairs due to a variety of conditions including that of the difficulty of doing the repair on site. The job, in these cases has to be put on a lift to remove/replace the necessary part/components in order to access them. I agree that many repairs/procedures can be dome mobily, but major or challenging ones are more efficiently done in the shop.

  4. Here in Ontario, you cant find enough skilled help in a shop, let alone doing mobile repairs out in the cold, snow, rain etc. I can see how some of the mobile Programmers and Diag guys do it, but they usually come to a warm shop to do the work in. The mobile tire change people? Not a fan either. Consumers should have their vehicle done in a proper Garage or shop setting so critical mistakes are not made out freezing in the snow in somebodys driveway.

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