- Supply chain issues in the U.S. are creating significant delays for car repairs.
- Delays can be attributed to microchip shortages, shipping blockages, and labor shortages created by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
- The delays have led to a surge of Lemon Law cases.
Supply chain issues have been affecting the auto industry since the start of the 2020 global pandemic. In early 2021, new car prices skyrocketed as materials became more and more difficult to obtain.
Now, mechanics are seeing major delays in the production and transport of used car parts. As a result, consumers are waiting weeks or even months for auto repairs.
Why Are Car Repairs Taking So Long?
Assuming you’re visiting a trustworthy mechanic, car repairs take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Unfortunately, thanks to current supply chain issues, those repair timeframes are no longer reliable.
Here’s an overview of how the supply chain is affecting auto repair times.
What’s Causing the Auto Supply Chain Issues?
Supply chain problems began with a microchip shortage. In March of 2020, pandemic lockdowns forced many auto manufacturers to shut down production temporarily. Many of these manufacturers were under the impression that plants would be shut down for an extended period. Thus, they stopped ordering microchips from suppliers overseas.
Simultaneously, the global population rapidly shifted toward technology-based communication. And consumer demand for TVs, computers, and gaming systems skyrocketed. This soaring demand for tech products exacerbated car companies’ predicament in that the limited number of microchip manufacturers were busy filling orders for other clients.
To add fuel to the fire, China closed key shipping ports during the summer of 2020 to reduce the spread of Covid-19. The backlog created by these closures persists today.
When production began to pick up again in late 2020, shipping companies were caught off-guard. Due to the recent production halts, containers of goods were stored in various countries around the globe rather than being returned to their countries of origin. This created significant shipping delays as companies scrambled to acquire new containers for transport.
Even when microchips and other raw materials manage to make their way into the U.S, truck driver shortages continue to delay the chips’ journey to local mechanics and auto repair shops.
In addition to the global supply chain issues, Covid-19 has greatly affected the U.S. labor pool. This shortage has significantly reduced the output of parts needed for auto repairs.
This labor shortage affects almost every industry, but the automotive sector has been hit especially hard. High turnover rates can be attributed to burnout, fear of illness, and unfavorable vaccination requirements. Additionally, fewer young people are entering the manufacturing workforce as higher levels of education become necessary for employment.
When Will the Car Supply Chain Issues End?
Fortunately, experts believe that global automotive supply chain issues are temporary. While the worst may be behind us, you can expect part shortages and supply chain disruptions to last until the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023.
What Can I Do?
It can be frustrating to wait weeks for vehicle repairs, especially when there’s no end in sight. But there are a couple of things you can do to improve your situation.
Advocate For Yourself
If your mechanic is backlogged, ask your insurance company if they will pay for a rental car while you wait. If you were in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the other driver’s insurance may already cover this expense. Alternatively, the dealer performing your repairs may be able to provide a loaner vehicle.
Besides seeking rental reimbursement, it’s important to communicate with your mechanic about the timeframe for your repairs. A good mechanic will give you an honest time estimate and won’t make promises they can’t honor.
File a Lemon Lawsuit
If your car has been out of service for repair for an extended period, it may qualify as a “Lemon.” Lemon Laws protect consumers who’ve purchase or leased defective vehicles. By filing a Lemon Law claim, you may be able to collect a cash settlement, a refund, or a replacement vehicle.
In most states, you can file a Lemon Law claim if your car has been out of service for repairs for at least 30 days. The repairs must be covered by warranty to qualify. And each state has its own laws about when the repairs may occur. For example, under the California Lemon Law, vehicles can qualify as Lemons if they’ve been out of service for repairs for 30 days within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles of ownership, whichever comes first.
Even if your car is just sitting at the repair shop waiting for parts, it may still qualify as a Lemon. To find out whether your vehicle may qualify for compensation under state or federal Lemon Laws, contact the trusted attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. We always provide free case reviews. And a few minutes of your time today could result in you replacing your Lemon with a new car without spending a penny out-of-pocket.