Auto repair

Backlog of parts causing delays for auto repair shops across Hampton Roads, nationwide

Is your car in the store? If so, you may have noticed that some repairs are taking longer than usual.

NORFOLK, Va. — There’s a major problem in the auto repair industry that’s causing auto body shop owners and car owners a headache.

Hampton Roads body shops say out-of-stock car parts are delaying repairs for weeks and sometimes longer.

“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Willie Martin, owner of Martin’s Auto Repair in Norfolk.

He has been in the business for more than 30 years and he said a backlog of auto parts is causing major problems in his industry.

RELATED: Parts Shortages Will Keep Auto Prices High, Maybe Through 2023

It’s a problem that causes delays in repairs and headaches for drivers.

“I have one that took three months just to get a little valance panel for the rear bumper,” Martin said.

The longer it takes to get parts, the longer it takes Martin and his team to do their job.

According to Martin, the delays began during the pandemic, and parts for overseas models, especially those made by Hyundai, take the longest to arrive.

Add to that labor shortages, another pandemic trend, which Martin attributes to a shrinking talent pool for mechanics and body shops.

“It’s just a shortage,” Martin said. “Because the demands are so high for repairs now.”

A recent federal transportation report showed fatal car crashes hit a 20-year high in the first quarter of 2022 — possibly fueled by risky driving habits developed during the pandemic.

RELATED: Federal Transportation Report Shows Slight Increase in Road Deaths in Virginia, North Carolina in Q1 of 2022

Martin said he’s been getting a lot more wrecked vehicles – another reason he hopes parts delivery times will soon be recovered.

“We just do them as we get the parts, you know?”

The shortage is also forcing people to rent cars longer. And with rental car costs rising and most insurance companies offering a capped amount to help pay, Martin said it’s also increasing the burden on customers.