GET GEPHARDT

Get Gephardt: Need your car repaired? Be prepared to wait

Nov 7, 2022, 10:20 PM | Updated: 10:56 pm

LINDON, Utah — If you had to, how long could you wait while your car gets fixed? Days? Weeks? How about months? That is how long a global parts shortage is keeping many cars off the road, even for relatively simple repairs.

And the frustration isn’t just being felt by drivers, as auto body repair shops and mechanics face huge backlogs.

Waiting months for a simple fix

Grant Clark’s daughter’s Volkswagen spun out on ice last December and slid into a curb.

“Not a lot of damage, but it did cause enough for the airbags to go off,” Clark said.

As far as accidents go, it was very minor. Not nearly enough for insurance to total the car. Instead, it was brought to a Lindon body shop to get the deployed airbags replaced. It has sat there for close to a year, with Volkswagen telling Clark that they do not have the parts.

“There is just no end in sight,” Clark said.

Grant Clark says his damaged Volkswagen has been sitting at a repair shop for almost a year, waiting on replacement airbags from the car maker.

He believes he would have been better off if the accident had been worse.

“If it would have been totaled out, they would have just given me the value of the car and I would have gone on and gotten a different car.”

Clark said he understands there are supply chain issues, but he wishes the carmaker would shift at least some of its efforts to supporting their current customers.

“They’re making brand new cars,” he said. “They offered to sell me a new car, but they can’t fix my old car.”

So, what does Volkswagen have to say about this? Nothing to me. I reached out to two Volkswagen executives in Virginia and heard nothing back. I then reached out to multiple Volkswagen executives at the company’s headquarters in Germany. Still nothing. It wasn’t a matter of my messages not getting through, because I did get one acknowledgment: a bounce back from one of the execs saying he was on paternity leave.

But not enough parts keeping cars off the roads is not just a Volkswagen issue.

Mechanics are equally frustrated

At Steve’s Automotive Specialists in Sandy, CEO Jeremy Smith said it is tough all over.

“We are sitting on 11 cars that we are waiting for parts on,” Smith said. “Some of those, we’re expecting the parts within weeks. We do have one or two that we’ve been waiting for more than 60 days.”

Jeremy Smith of Steve’s Automotive Specialists tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt they’ve had several cars on hold for weeks, and a few still waiting for parts after 60 days.

Smith just got back from an automotive conference in Texas where he said mechanics and body repair technicians were all lamenting the same problem.

“There’s parts of the country where apparently they’ve got lots filled with thousands of cars they can’t get back on the road from just rental companies,” he explained, “because they can’t get the parts for them.”

Car parts largely come out of China, and with China still largely on lockdown, trying to quash the pandemic, it has made getting parts next to impossible.

The solution?

“Oh, boy, make more stuff in America,” Smith answered. “I mean, that’s going be the first thing I’m going to throw out there. I mean, we aren’t manufacturing anything here anymore.”

A global parts shortage is backing up work at service centers across the country as they are forced to wait on parts from overseas manufacturers.

Supply chain issues

These supply chain issues aren’t just impacting people who need parts for their current cars — it is also impacting new cars. According to a report from J.D. Power, “new vehicle quality has notably declined” and the new car industry “experienced an 11% increase in problems” compared to last year because of supply chain issues.

“Really what I want is just the car to be fixed,” said Clark, who still has no timetable on when his Volkswagen will be back on the road.

“They say it’s on backorder. That means it could come in next week,” he said. Or, “It could be next year.”

The dashboard of Grant Clark’s Volkswagen has been disassembled for nearly a year as the repair shop waits on new airbags from the manufacturer.

There has been a push for more car parts to be made in America since the pandemic lifted the curtain on how reliant our country has become on manufacturers from other places. The most notable example, perhaps, is an $1.8 billion plant being built in Indiana where they will make microchips for cars.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Get Gephardt

...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Cybersecurity experts caution shoppers to take it slow while shopping online

For many of us, Christmastime is magical. For scammers, it’s especially magical. Here's what to beware of when shopping online.
5 days ago
Scammers...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Received a package delivery text? Scammers are luring Utahns with fake tracking alerts

Utahns are getting targeted by scammers sending out fake delivery notices.
12 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps Holladay woman who says contractor left her with an unusable bathroom

If a contractor did bad work, you wouldn't be satisfied with the job. A Holladay woman said a restoration company left her with an unusable bathroom, but when they told her she was satisfied, she decided it was time to Get Gephardt.
12 days ago
phone with digital coupons...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Do digital discounts discriminate against elderly shoppers?

You have likely seen ads promising savings with digital-only coupons, but a consumer watchdog says that the digital-only part unfairly leaves many people out of the opportunity.
18 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Get Gephardt: Utah landscaper loses license for taking money then ‘abandoning’ jobs

"We know that there's a lot more people out there," one woman paid for a landscaping crew that never showed up.
18 days ago
(Adobe Stock)...
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Rent application fees prove a hurdle to housing for Utah families

Between the deposit and rent, finding a new place to live isn’t cheap. But as KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt found, there’s another nonrefundable fee standing in between many Utahns and a home.
25 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Get Gephardt: Need your car repaired? Be prepared to wait