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Get Gephardt: Orem man’s auto repairs take 13 months due to parts shortage

Jan 24, 2023, 10:19 PM | Updated: 11:10 pm

OREM, Utah — If your car needs minor repairs, be prepared to wait. That warning comes from a Utah County man who had to wait for more than a year for his car to get fixed.

(It) just hit the tire here, so not a lot of damage, but it did cause enough for the airbags to go off, Grant Clark told us back in November, months after his daughters Volkswagen spun out on ice and hit a curb.

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

More than one year after the fender bender, the car is finally back on the road. That is how long it took for him to get his hands on replacement airbags. The thing is, those airbags did not come from Volkswagen itself; he found them at a junkyard.

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

After we told his story in November, we heard from car owners all over the country lamenting they are having the same issue with many different carmakers. Their cars needed relatively small repairs, but the parts just are not there.

Jeremy Smith of Steve’s Automotive in Sandy knows all about it.

“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,” Smith said, “because they can’t get the parts for them and get them back on the road.”

These supply chain issues are not just impacting people who need parts for their current cars; it is also hitting the manufacturing of new cars. According to J.D. Power, new “vehicle quality has notably declined” and the new car industry “experienced an 11% increase in problems” compared to last year.

The primary reason?

“Supply chain issues,” according to J.D. Power.

“If you had been in a worse accident, you almost would have been better off, no?” I asked Clark.

“Yeah, probably because it would have been totaled out,” he answered. “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.”

Instead, Clark had to get another car for his daughter to get around while the Volkswagen sat for more than a year waiting on parts. Volkswagen has yet to respond to our multiple inquiries.

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Get Gephardt: Orem man’s auto repairs take 13 months due to parts shortage