The United States and other countries continue to deal with the production and shipping disruptions caused by the pandemic. Within the automotive repair industry, shortages of parts have increased costs for repair shops and caused huge delays on repairs in some cases. As complex machines, automobiles consist of thousands of parts from computer chips to simple spring washers. Fortunately, domestic spring washers manufacturers are still producing and shipping these vital fastening components. Auto repair shops and other industrial and construction companies can still order spring washers.
Low New Automobile Inventory Increases Demand For Repairs
A global shortage of computer chips has constrained output by automakers. A vehicle may contain dozens of different chips to manage various electrical functions. Without them, automakers cannot build fully functional vehicles. As a result, automobile owners have been willing to fix their used vehicles in greater numbers because they have limited options for buying new ones.
The current situation means that auto repair companies can expect strong business for the near future. Although vehicle owners will be depending on repairs instead of new purchases, auto repair shops are having problems meeting demand.
Parts Shortages Causing Delays Of Weeks And Months
Higher than normal demand for car parts coupled with production interruptions and shipping slowdowns means that customers cannot expect immediate repairs. Normally, repair shops obtain parts within a few days, but now back-ordered parts are becoming increasingly the norm.
On top of slow parts supply chains, the prices of car parts have not avoided the inflationary forces affecting the economy. When repair shops pass on the higher prices, their customers endure the double unpleasantness of long waits and higher costs.
Catalytic Converter Theft Represents A Particular Pain Point
The metal components within catalytic converters have a high value on the black market. For this reason, thieves find this specific car part very valuable. They can cut it out from underneath a parked car.
Victims of this crime then face a long wait before they can get a replacement converter due to the surge in thefts and demand. Catalytic converters are scarce throughout the United States, which forces automobile owners to wait months for new ones. In the mean time, their vehicles make a terrible noise when started due to the devastation of the exhaust system.
Other Auto Parts Shortages
Auto technicians need more than annealed spring steel washers to complete repairs. Catalytic converters are not the only important parts that repair shops are having trouble getting their hands on. ABS brake modules, windshields, transmission control modules, and engine sensors are in short supply. Many vehicles are in limbo waiting for these parts.
Consumers might reduce their wait times by hiring independent auto repair shops instead of taking vehicles to dealerships. Dealers, as part of their commitment to premium service, install only official replacement parts. Non-dealership shops, however, have the option of sourcing aftermarket parts.
Labor Shortages Troubling Auto Repair Business
In addition to struggling to buy parts in a timely manner, the automobile repair industry is experiencing labor problems. People have not been entering the automobile repair trade in sufficient numbers to keep shops fully staffed. This situation exacerbates wait times for customers because of short-staffed shops.
To combat this problem, repair shops should do what they can to keep good technicians happy and provide them with advanced training opportunities. Evolving automobile technology requires technicians to gain new certifications in order to fix newer vehicles. Repair shops willing to train new technicians and reward those who produce good work will have a competitive edge over other shops that cannot attract quality staff.