Collision repair experts said major damage repair could possibly take up to two months.
TYLER, Texas — This week’s icy conditions also caused major damage to cars. Many drivers got into wrecks and others had tree limbs fall on their windshields. Experts in the auto collision repair industry said those needing repairs could wait as long as two months before they see their car again.
“Right now I think we’re averaging about 16 to 18 days, just like a rough average,” said David Butron, the general manager of East Texas Collision Repair.
About two weeks, that’s how long it’s taking this auto shop to fix up cars that are coming in.
Butron said one vehicle currently in their shop should return to its owner by the end of next week. He said this car owner is one of the lucky ones because the shop was able to get all the parts to repair it quickly. But, that’s not the case for every type of damage.
Butron also pointed out a vehicle that’s been sitting in their lot for several months.
“In this case this truck is fully assembled and apparently ready to go it’s just missing one little air bag sensor,” Butron said. “That little air bag sensor is what’s keeping it here, and it’s been here for a good two months.”
That small part is a major safety component, and the shop can’t let the vehicle go until it’s installed.
Over at Tyler Ford, LTD body shop manager David Sorge said collision repairs could take up to two months.
“If it’s a big hit it could take a month to two months,” Sorge said. “If it’s a small hit, we can get them out in a week or two.”
Sorge said as of Friday they are working on about 80 vehicles and that getting parts is the major issue.
“Some things in paint,” Sorge said. “Some of the chemicals for paint gets on backorder and we have to substitute and we end up creating and messing with the colors and it’s just turns into a nightmare.”
Both shops said these problems didn’t start until the COVID-19 Pandemic interrupted the supply chain.
“The shortage of staff has also put a lot of administrative burden on the shops,” Butron said. “Whereas we used to see adjusters come on a lot and now they’re just asking us to basically do their job for them and take the pictures and send everything up to them. As opposed to them coming on are lots and doing that themselves.”
“If I could make the parts I would,” Sorge said. “I could get them done quicker. That’s life at the body shop business in 2023.”
There is good news from both these companies. They said they haven’t had a shortage of labor, and Tyler Ford is consistently training the younger generation in collision repair as well.