NORFOLK, Va. — There's a major issue in the auto repair industry causing headaches for body shop owners and car owners.
Body shops in Hampton Roads say back-ordered car parts are delaying repairs for weeks and sometimes longer.
“This is the worst I’ve seen it," said Willie Martin, owner of Martin’s Auto Repair in Norfolk.
He’s been in the business for more than 30 years, and he said a backlog of car parts is causing major issues in his industry.
It’s a problem causing delays in repairs and headaches for drivers.
“I have one that took three months just to get a small valance panel for the rear bumper," said Martin.
The longer it takes to get parts, the longer it takes for Martin and his team to do their jobs.
According to Martin, delays started during the pandemic, and parts for foreign models, especially those made by Hyundai, are taking the longest to arrive.
Add on the worker shortage, another pandemic trend, which Martin attributes to lowering the talent pool for mechanics and body technicians.
“It’s just a shortage," said Martin. "Because demands are so high on repairs now.”
A recent federal transportation report showed deadly car crashes hit a 20-year high in the first quarter of 2022 – possibly fueled by risky driving habits developed during the pandemic.
Martin said he’s getting way more wrecked vehicles – another reason he hopes delivery times for parts pick up soon.
“We just do them as we get the parts, you know?”
The shortage is also forcing people to rent cars longer. And with the rising costs of rental cars and most insurance companies offering a capped amount to help pay, Martin said it also puts more of a burden on customers.