A car parts shortage is challenging Winnipeg auto shops as they navigate delays amidst supply chain struggles, according to local shop owners.
However, for Frank Motors, the parts shortage is not new and mechanics have been dealing with shortages for years now. The shop mostly handles European cars.
“Some stuff, if they still have it in Canada or North America, it can be two, three weeks, but if it’s a special order out of Europe — in the worst case, we had one that took a year,” said Owner Milan Paskas.
Paskas says the supply chain issues have improved as the shop can get regular wear and tear parts such as brake pads fairly easily. However, if something more unusual needs replacing, it can take months to get the part.
Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Paskas says he’s had to manage customers’ expectations.
“If it’s the first time a customer hears something like that or deals with that, they’re sometimes upset and not understanding why this is happening,” he says.
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Meanwhile, getting parts for domestic vehicles has proven to be easier but according to Norm Bruneau, president of the Automotive Trade Association, the wait ranges from one to two months and it can take a financial toll on auto shops.
“Bringing in, for example, a claim requiring 30 parts, and we’re able to get 29 of them, and that one last part is very important. So, we’re looking at sitting on that inventory of parts until the rest of it arrives.”
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Bruneau says availability is 75 to 80 per cent of what it was before the pandemic but if a car can’t be fixed right away, customers often have trouble getting a rental.
“Things seem to have gotten better, but we’re nowhere near pre-pandemic levels where cars were readily available.”
While this can be frustrating for both shop owners and customers, Bruneau says people have found ways to adapt.
“In the past, we might have waited a little bit, especially if we were backlogged, but now, even though we’re scheduling repairs that far out, we’re putting those parts orders in right away,” he says.
— with files Global’s Katherine Dornian
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