Brian England, Tues, Sept 20, 2022
You may have noticed that scheduling your vehicle for service has become harder. Auto Repair Shops are often booked two to three weeks out now. That’s quite a shift from pre-pandemic days when you could get your vehicle scheduled for service within a week. So, what’s changed? Actually, quite a lot and it isn’t just due to a labor shortage. Here are some of the reasons for the back log at BA Auto Care and other auto service centers:
1. Labor shortage is an issue, but it has been an issue for more than 20 years. It is getting worse in the auto repair industry, especially for qualified technicians. In the United States, we are short 50,000 auto technicians and that number is climbing. With that said, BA Auto Care has not changed the number of technicians we had on staff before or during the pandemic. However, we are currently looking to add another technician to help with the workload.
2. Keeping cars longer. Dealerships don’t have a full inventory of new cars available on their lots anymore. This has pushed people into keeping their current vehicles longer. When their current vehicle needs a couple thousand dollars’ worth of repair work, they are scheduling the repairs instead of saving the money and putting it toward the purchase of a new vehicle.
3. Larger jobs. Because people are keeping their vehicles longer and getting major repair work done, Auto repair shops are trying to fit those large jobs into an already tight schedule. Large jobs are great work to get but can play havoc with scheduling. A schedule that usually includes vehicles that need a few hours of service has now become a schedule filled with cars that need major repairs taking 10 to 20 hours of service time.
4. Rust and corrosion! With older vehicles comes rust and corrosion. Some makes and models have more than others. The exhaust on a 15-year-old car has a lot more rust and it takes more time to remove bolts carefully to prevent other parts from breaking and needing replacement. This adds more time to the repair and affects the schedule.
5. Parts availability. Ordering and receiving superior quality parts has become difficult. Parts that used to be readily available in the Baltimore area are now being shipped from other parts of the country, causing delays in getting cars repaired and back on the road.
6. More complex. Newer vehicles are equipped with more safety and convenience features, often creating additional repair issues. Many car computers are daisy chained together, making it difficult to find the root cause of an issue. Isolating computer problems is more challenging and takes longer.
7. More travel. With the easing of the pandemic more people are traveling by car again. Issues with air travel has generated an increase in car travel, driving up our preventative maintenance work.
I hope this helps you to understand the current delays in scheduling your vehicle for service. While we look for the right person to help with this larger workload, please know we are doing our best to schedule, service and repair your vehicle and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.