Auto body shops in the Ozarks report delays in scheduling repairs; partly due to supply chain issues

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 9:34 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - If your car needs a repair, it could take a lot longer than you expect.

Hammer’s Autoworks vice president of operations Aaron Bruton says it’s starting with manufacturers not being able to get materials. Then, it trickles down to staffing shortages at the production level.

”Once in a lifetime delays on pretty much everything we order,” Bruton says. “It doesn’t matter what make or model car. We’re seeing parts that we would normally see in four to five days take upwards of two to three months sometimes.”

If a vehicle is able to be driven, Bruton says Hammer’s is calling in advance to order those parts. They are scheduling the customers dependent on how quickly those parts can arrive. Those delays can be as short as two to three weeks or as long as upward of three months.

“There’s a lot of vehicles that we’re putting back on the road partially repaired until we can get those pieces,” Bruton says.

However, some vehicles are not able to be driven and have to sit in the lot waiting for parts.

“If we don’t have the pieces to make it driveable, some of those cars, unfortunately, we’ve had people that have been here for three, four, and one vehicle for five months waiting for pieces that are being produced overseas that don’t have any ETA or timeline to get to us,” Bruton says.

Not only are parts tough to get but they’re getting more expensive. Bruton says that can mean bigger bills for customers.

“The used suppliers are quite aware that the new parts are on backorder,” Bruton says. “They’re adjusting their prices dramatically. There’s a lot of cases now where a used part will actually cost 25-30% more than a brand new part would.”

Mr. Dent has locations in Ozark, Seymour and West Plains. Owner Brent Martin says there is a delay in scheduling, but it’s not because there’s a supply chain issue with parts. It’s actually because they’re seeing an increase in customers.

“A lot more deer hits than normal,” Martin says. “Animal strikes are always a big part of our business but this year seems to be even increased, more crashes and more fender benders. With the recent snow and ice we had a little bit of the slide-offs, especially in West Plains.”

Martin says West Plains and Seymour are scheduling as far out as the beginning of March. The Ozark location is scheduling out into the middle of February. Those dates are for cars that are able to be driven.

During the snow last week, the West Plains location saw seven cars in one day being towed in.

“We try a lot in our scheduling, we allow for some tow-ins or non-drives,” Martin says. “We allow for some of those and leave those openings available in our schedule to help accommodate those calls.”

Martin says his shops are seeing some issues getting parts but his workers are spending time trying to locate them anywhere across the country.

“We spent an hour and a half this morning looking for an airbag for this Honda they’re working on,” Martin says. “None of our local dealers or normal parts vendors carry it. We were able to find one two or three states away and we’ll have it shipped in here. It costs us a little bit more in shipping but it beats the wait.”

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