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Mid-Michigan auto body shops pushing repairs back amid parts shortage

People waiting months after crash for repairs
Mid-Michigan auto body shops pushing repairs back amid parts shortage
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Getting in a car crash, even a minor one, is now being compounded into an even worse experience.

That’s because -- in addition to everything else -- you have to deal with longer wait for repairs. It’s taking weeks, and sometimes even months, to get the vehicles fixed.

“I still have my car in the shop now and we’re going on to be about May now,” said Mario Gonzales.

Gonzales hasn’t been able to drive his car since he was in a wreck in February, and he has no idea when it will be fixed.

“I have to go out of town for my job frequently, so that really put some stress on me to figure out what my next move was going to be,” said Gonzales.

Body shops said these delays are happening for everyone.

“Everybody shop is backed up for four to six weeks,” said Don Ruthruff, Young’s Body Shop Manager.

Ruthruff has cars in his shop for three or four weeks for what used to be a three-day fix.

“Just a lot of delays in getting parts. It’s just a waiting game on waiting for parts,” said Ruthruff.

Sometimes the wait is even longer for things like headlights or even a simple rubber seal.

“To wait for the parts and once you get more cars in, you have to get the other car that’s outside, you have to get that back in once the part gets here and it’s been a challenge,” said Ruthruff.

Ruthruff said he’s never seen parts in this short supply in the more than 20 years he’s been fixing cars. And right now, there’s no advantage to having a particular vehicle.

“There’s no rhyme or reason to the model year or the manufacturer,” said Ruthruff.

Gonzales said his car is waiting on parts from China, which was surprising.

“I’m surprised they weren’t able to go through domestic auto part suppliers. I’m surprised there wasn’t something they could do to negotiate some advanced shipment,” said Gonzales.

Body shops are encouraging people to check with their insurance companies for details on their coverage. Some companies are adjusting their rental car policies because of the part shortage.

They add there’s nothing else they can do but wait and most people are patient.

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