Car parts shortage has drivers waiting months for repairs

A caution to anyone who may need a car repair sometime soon: You may have to wait weeks, even months for parts, due to supply chain shortages that show no signs of letting up.

When George Weaver fires up his 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe, the whole neighborhood hears what sounds like an old hot rod.

“I started it up on Monday morning, and it was loud, and I knew right away what had happened,” he said.

It was his catalytic converter, which are being targeted by thieves everywhere these days for their valuable metals. When he looked underneath, he saw two clean cuts on the exhaust, and his $1,000 converter gone.

So he limped the SUV to his dealer, where he expected a quick repair. But it was not to be.

“The dealer said they are back-ordered, there are none in the country, and they don’t know when they are gonna get them in,” he said.

Many parts now on back order for months

Many original equipment catalytic converters are currently on back order. But that’s not the only essential car part you may not be able to find, due to supply chain shortages.

Matt Overbeck owns a repair shop, Overbeck Auto Services. “We are seeing car parts delays and shortages in some areas,” he said. “Day, weeks, and in some cases months.”

Besides converters, he says parts in short supply include:

  • ABS brake modules
  • Engine sensors
  • Transmission control modules
  • Windshields

What can owners do?

Overbeck says independent shops have more flexibility than dealers, that have to use official replacement parts. He is able to get aftermarket converters, for example, or used converters in a pinch.

“You can work with your repair provider to see if there are other options, such as used, or a salvage yard part,” Overbeck said.

He says don’t be frightened by salvage parts, as they are usually fine and come with warranties. But Weaver, who wants the official Hyundai part because his SUV is almost new, says “it is very frustrating. And the frustrating part is you are paying for the car and you can’t use it!”

We contacted his dealer, who promised to make his converter a priority, and if all else fails, try to swap him into a different vehicle.

So don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a part, so don’t waste your money.

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