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Why Are Auto Collision Repairs Taking So Long?

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

The pandemic has caused many industries to face shortages in several facets of their business. Collision repair shops are no different as we too face issues with labor shortages, material costs and especially the struggle to get parts to repair vehicles in a timely manner.

Before these shortages were an issue, vehicle turnaround times were typically 3-5 days. Now it can be quite a bit longer than that. Some vehicles are even taking months to complete.

Here’s a look at the main reason this is happening:

Not only is the collision industry facing a workforce shortage, car manufacturers have also lost a large percentage of their workforce, which of course has a major impact on productivity, leaving a shortage of parts. Even after-market parts (non-factory parts made to mimic original parts) are hard to come by as well as recycled, salvage yard parts. And don’t forget that transportation to get the parts to our distributors is very affected as well.

When we work on a vehicle that has been in an accident, 9 times out of 10 we need an additional part to finish the job. That part could very well be on a national back-order status. This means that if the vehicle is disassembled and it needs an additional, essential part, it stays that way until the part arrives.

In addition to facing multiple parts issues, many of the Insurance companies have changed the way they are handling claims since the pandemic. Most insurance companies no longer send an adjuster out to look at your car. Most of the estimates and supplements are now done with photos. With a worker shortage, review of these photos can take up to 5 days, leaving vehicles sitting, waiting for review and approval. Once the review is done, ordering parts and waiting for them becomes the next hurdle.

As of now, it’s not looking like anything will change in the near future. Remember, body shops do not make money when a vehicle stays too long, so we are just as anxious as the customer to finish the job. The only thing shops can do is ask customers to remain flexible and patient.

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