Local auto shop no stranger to shortages at garages nationwide | News
UTICA, NY (WKTV) – Bloomberg reported on auto industry shortages in garages in October 2021. CBS did a national story in November. Detroit, Seattle and other news organizations reported on pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions for auto mechanics in December and January.
In the Mohawk Valley, the same problem exists and is expected to persist.
Frank Ferrone, owner of Intune Automotive on Court Street in Utica, is no stranger to the delays seen nationwide.
“Now they don’t store as much inventory as before because they can’t get it,” Ferrone said. “In the past, they could store ten things for a certain car, and now they don’t. only stock one or two and they sell faster because there’s a demand for those pieces.”
If you call a repair shop and want to get in right away, chances are you’ll be told you’ll have to wait. It’s not because the shop can’t do the job. That’s because the store can’t get the part until the company supplying it can ship it.
Ferrone showed us a truck that’s on the lift right now waiting for parts that were ordered, arrived damaged, and now it’s back on the lift after two weeks.
“This big truck we’re working on now needs a complete rear end rebuild,” he said. “The whole rear needs to be replaced, all the internal parts, and some parts were available within a day or two, some parts took two weeks.”
In past years, you might wait a few days. Now, it is not uncommon to wait a few weeks and sometimes more for a simple repair.
“Most customers understand what’s going on and know that we’re doing our best because people need their cars,” Ferrone said.
What, it seems, is causing the auto parts backlog?
“Maybe a bit of everything,” Ferrone said. “I’m not an expert at this. I’m just an expert at keeping my customers happy and getting everything running and cars coming in and out.”
An Associated Press article reported in September 2021, the shortages and backlog could last well into 2023.
Looking back on the last 12 months, Ferrone told us there had been significant price increases for products and shortages.
“In January 2021, the oil we buy in drums was up 80% in one month and it’s been at that level for 12 months now,” he said. “Also, brakes, tires and suspension parts – all of those things we’ve seen a 35-40% increase.”
Your best bet to ensure your vehicle stays in good driving condition is to keep regular maintenance up to date. Also, don’t let things go. If you notice or feel that something is wrong with your vehicle, call the mechanic right away so they can at least have your vehicle examined and get the parts ordered.
Ferrone tells us his clients have been understanding because they see what’s happening in the world.