Why your next auto repair could take more time and cost more money
The auto industry is facing a parts shortage
Getting repairs done on your car is already stressful, but the pandemic might make it even more challenging.
Just like many industries, supply chain issues are making it hard to find car parts right now. So experts say you should expect longer wait times if your car is in the shop.
Brian Davies, owner of Body Works Plus Collision Repair in Charlotte, says one driver has waited six weeks for a bumper to arrive.
"Most of the time we can get parts the next day. So to wait six weeks on a bumper, yes, definitely is unprecedented," Davies said.
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Davies says the average repair used to take about one week, but now it’s doubled to two, and sometimes longer. That’s because many car parts are in high demand, and manufacturers can’t keep up.
"Anything from bumpers to spoilers to wheels to windshields, cameras, any electronic components," Davies said.
Davies says the long wait times can have extra consequences for customers whose insurance companies are paying for a rental car while their vehicle is in the shop. Some parts have been so delayed that owners' rental coverage expired, leaving them to pay out of pocket.
"We are facing, in our industry, the biggest supply chain interruption that we have had since World War II," said Paul McCarthy, president of the Automotive Aftermarket Supplier Association.
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McCarthy says after travel paused during the pandemic, more people are now hitting the road. This is causing more demand for repairs, and the perfect storm for manufacturers.
"We’ve had shipping issues. Prices are way up. Ports are backed up. It’s hard to simply find space," McCarthy said.
"We’ve seen a cost increase across the board anywhere from five to 20% on materials and parts," Davies said.
For this reason, experts say you’ll likely pay more money for a repair, at least for now.
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"We think we’re still gonna be seeing significant supply chain disruption until the second half of next year," McCarthy said.
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Davies says those who need a car repair should do their research. Find a shop that has good communication so you know about any potential delays.