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RepairSmith mechanics will service your vehicle at home. Photo: RepairSmith

It's reaching the point where you can order almost any product or service online and have it delivered — including car repair.

Why it matters: Nobody wants to sit around a repair shop waiting for their car to be fixed — even more so since the pandemic, as consumers have avoided stores, restaurants and other businesses.

Driving the news: RepairSmith, a startup that lets you book an appointment online and then sends a mechanic to your home, is expanding after raising $42 million in new funding this week.

  • The Los Angeles-based company, which launched in 2019 out of a Mercedes-Benz incubator program, is now in seven states and plans to expand to every major metropolitan area by the end of 2022. It serves all makes and models.

How it works: Customers enter a few details about their vehicle and can then get a price quote or schedule an appointment online.

  • For routine maintenance like an oil change or a brake job, the mechanic will show up at the appointed hour in a RepairSmith van with the necessary parts.
  • If a customer is not sure what's wrong, they can schedule a one-hour diagnostic visit. The mechanic will offer a quote and schedule a follow-up visit. If a job's too big, they'll tow the car to a repair shop.
  • Mechanics are employed by RepairSmith, not independent contractors.

The big picture: At-home repair is not entirely new.

  • Tesla and other newcomers offer mobile repair services because they don't have traditional dealerships where customers can bring their cars for maintenance.
  • Some luxury brands have been experimenting with similar services, and there are other startups in the space too, like YourMechanic.

Be smart: RepairSmith says its prices are competitive with a high-quality, independent shop in your neighborhood.

  • It's definitely not the cheapest repair service in town: Fast Company did some quick price comparisons in Portland, Ore., and found a driveway oil change was about double the coupon rate offered at Jiffy Lube.
  • But if I don't have to sit on a sticky chair in a smelly shop while I wait for my car to be ready, maybe it's worth a little extra.

Go deeper

Sep 23, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Why Instagram ads, billboards are reminding you to lock your car

Image: Instagram

Has your Instagram tapping surfaced ads reminding you to lock your car lately? You're not alone.

What's happening: The Minnesota Department of Commerce's Fraud Bureau partnered with the Hennepin and Ramsey county attorneys to launch a public awareness campaign aimed at reducing auto theft.

  • "Keep your car safe from thieves by parking in well-lit areas, always locking the doors and taking the key or FOB," one version of the black-and-yellow social posts reads.
  • New billboards on major roads, including Hiawatha and I-94, carry similar warnings.

Why it matters: Having your car stolen sucks! But auto thefts also impact the economy as a whole, when insurance companies pass on the cost of repair, replacement and claim processing to consumers in the form of higher premiums.

Details: Commerce doled out about $67,000 to the two county attorney offices to pay for the campaign, which also includes bus ads.

  • The department plans to expand the campaign to Greater Minnesota later this year.

Between the lines: Locking your car may sound like a basic reminder, but forgotten keys and unsecured doors are big drivers of auto thefts.

  • Commerce's 2019-2020 auto thefts report estimates that 60% of cars stolen in the metro were taken after the owner left the keys inside.
  • While the vast majority (93%) of vehicles stolen in jurisdictions participating in a state theft prevention initiative were recovered, many were damaged, again increasing costs.

The bottom line: St. Paul Police Department spokesman Steve Linders told Torey that these "crimes of opportunity" are especially common in the winter, when many of us leave our cars running to warm them up on chilly days."

  • We had a case a few years back that involved a woman stealing a running, unattended vehicle and driving it to the airport," he recalled. "She was arrested at the gate."
Updated 6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker