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Drivers Waiting Weeks, Even Months, to Get Cars Repaired Due to Backordered Parts

What to Know

  • No manufacturer is immune from supply chain issues, even the biggest ones
  • Shortages impact nearly all parts, from bumpers to doors to headlights
  • Experts advise you bump the rental car coverage in your insurance policy

Last November, a driver backed into Laila Dennis, smashing the passenger side of her new Volkswagen Atlas.

“All of a sudden I just feel this bang-like crash. I was like, ‘What happened?’” she said. 

Dennis’ car was towed to a repair shop, and it’s been sitting there unrepaired ever since. 

“I haven’t gotten any answers from anybody. Everybody is just pointing the fingers at everybody and I still don’t have a car,” she said. 

The problem is that most of Dennis’ car parts are backordered, and her repair shop has no idea when they’ll be available. 

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists, a trade group for repair shops, said parts are backordered due to supply chain issues. The group said it started impacting them more than a year ago, and there’s no end in sight. 

Todd Hesford is a board member and owner of a collision repair shop. He said in his 30 years in the business, he’s never seen anything like this. 

“Your biggest, trusted, strongest manufacturers couldn’t come up with their parts. Not to their own fault. It was just issues of getting things logistically around the world,” he said.

Hesford said he’s encountered shortages on just about everything. 

“From bumpers, headlights, fenders, doors, stuff that’s pretty common in the collision industry,” he said.

So Hesford’s been forced to rethink his business to keep his customers happy. He often drives hundreds of miles a week to pick up parts from various dealers. 

“We’ve gone everywhere from two miles north of the border, to dealerships we never heard of before, to Santa Barbara, out to San Bernardino. We’ve driven to Las Vegas three times,” he said. 

Hesford says it’s a business model that simply isn’t sustainable. Meanwhile, drivers like Dennis are struggling without their cars. 

So until the supply chain works itself out, Brian Moody with Kelley Blue Book has some advice. 

He said if your parts are backordered, consider partial repairs. Fix the safety issues first, and then circle back later for the cosmetic parts. 

“If I can manage to have that one piece not working for an extra three weeks, can I drive the car safely?” he said. 

Moody said you may want to consider increasing the rental car coverage in your insurance policy to help get you through a lengthy repair. He recommends picking a plan that pays you a flat dollar amount for a rental instead of covering you for a set period of time. 

“Say if they gave you $500, vs. 30 days. You may choose to use that money in a different way, as opposed to just going down to the local rental car place and paying whatever,” Moody said.

It’s advice Dennis will consider moving forward. She’s still waiting to get her car fixed, but Volkswagen told the I-Team that her parts will be coming soon.  

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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