SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Bay Area drivers may need patience if their cars break down. The pandemic created a shortage of microchips. That created a shortage of new cars, which sent the price for new and used cars skyrocketing. Now it’s landing in your local auto repair shop.
“Getting a transmission quickly is challenging in the best of times, because it’s certainly not a 24-hour turnaround,” says Artana, owner of Shear Pets Mobile Grooming. It’s a day build to put it into the truck.”READ MORE: PG&E to Face Criminal Charges Over Deadly Zogg Fire in Shasta County
Shear Pets is immobilized for the moment, but customers have been driving themselves to the truck, which is now sitting outside of the repair shop.
“Yeah we’ve been stranded for almost 2 weeks,” she says.
“I think a lot of the manufacturers, during Covid, probably stopped making parts,” explains Chris Sullivan, owner of The Smog Shop in San Francisco. “Now we are feeling the pain.”
It depends on the car and the part, but so many parts are now on backorder that a lot of jobs are taking much longer. And there are some that Sullivan simply can’t get done.
“We have a Ford pickup truck in here right now that’s a 2016,” he says. “We have been waiting eight weeks for a part. This gentleman is down with his vehicle now for eight weeks.”READ MORE: U.S. Men’s Soccer Asks Appeals Court to Reinstate Women's Wage Suit
“Unfortunately for consumers, this is not an easy fix,” explains Jessica Caldwell, Industry analyst for Edmunds. “We’re not going to see, suddenly, more vehicles on used and new car lots in the next few weeks. Probably not in the next few months.”
Caldwell says it all goes back to the supply strain on the new car market. And those higher prices are probably driving more people to fix their failing cars.
“Perhaps that person would’ve gone onto another vehicle, but they are kind of hesitant, in terms of trying to make that big purchase,” Caldwell says.
That, in turn, will drive still more demand for replacement parts. So when a car breaks down, a fix might take some time.
“The good news is that it’s going to be tomorrow,” Artana says of her mobile business. “It’s been a wait.”MORE NEWS: Fatal Hit-and-Run Crash In Hayward Temporarily Shuts Southbound I-880 Lanes At Highway 92
“It’s not just that microchips and auto parts have to be manufactured – probably in Asia – they have to get here, and the global shipping backlog has not gone away, it’s about to run into the holiday shopping traffic jam. So, the car crunch, new to used to repair, could well stretch into next year.