Shortage of parts means follow-up appointment at auto shops

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – With the onset of winter weather, many people are heading to the auto shop to winterize their vehicles. But making an appointment is a challenge as many auto parts are still out of stock due to the ongoing supply chain backlog caused by the pandemic.

Lillian Van Dam is a proud first-time owner, having purchased a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee just a few weeks ago.

“He drives really well. It looks almost new and I was looking for a car that would be perfect for me,” Van Dam said.

Van Dam wants to make sure her vehicle will be winter ready, so she made an early morning appointment with Airway Auto Service.

“I just got in for an oil change today and my turn signal was off so I needed to get it changed before any real snow came,” Van Dam said.

But more than two years into the pandemic, auto parts remain in short supply. The shortage means that customers are paying more for the maintenance of their vehicles.

“Parts are definitely increasing a lot and becoming hard to find. So we buy them elsewhere and have to pay to ship them, that definitely drives up the price,” said Chris Broadbent of Airway Auto Service.

“I get paid $19 an hour at my job, which a lot of people would say is a lot, but it’s a bit difficult for someone who doesn’t know how to budget, so I have to kind of make sure I can afford it at the time,” Van Dam said.

Sometimes Airway Auto Service will have to send customers home with their vehicle and have them come back a second time because the parts were not inside.

“A lot of times we have people bring their car in, we check it out, find out what’s wrong, if we can get parts we fix it, if we can’t, and it’s possible to drive it, sometimes they drive the vehicle until the parts come in because we have to order a lot,” Broadbent said.

But even if the parts cost more, Van Dam now has the certainty that his new vehicle will be ready to face the winter in complete safety.

Staff shortages also complicate vehicle appointments. Airway Auto says at least one technician is needed as well as someone to take care of oil changes.

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