Auto repair shop owners and mechanics everywhere continue to deal with an ongoing supply problem. A lot of the parts they need in order to do their job and fix vehicles aren’t getting to their garages fast enough.
Impacts of the supply issue are being felt by workers at Shawn’s Auto Service in Bettendorf, including Brian Gramenz, the shop’s owner. Gramenz says that even though he has 13 dealerships and eight auto parts stores he buys parts from, he’s still having trouble finding the supplies he needs to fix his customers’ cars on time. He says it’s a problem unlike any other he’s experienced in his nearly 30-year career, and a problem he says is only getting worse.
“It’s not going to get any better, I can tell you that,” Gramenz said of the supply chain issues. “We’ve had oil filter shortages, air filter shortages. The other day I couldn’t even get a light bulb.”
“We had a customer’s Jeep that the motor went bad, and we purchase re-manufactured engines. And I waited 90 days for a motor because they couldn’t even find a core motor to build,” Gramenz said.
Now, if you get into an accident or have a part on your car break, Gramenz says it could take months until a mechanic is able to fix it, depending on how fast parts come into the shop.
“I have a couple of vehicles actually currently right now that we had to wait a week on, or longer,” Gramenz said. “I’ve still got a Jeep of a customer’s that’s been here about a month, and the dealership keeps pushing parts back.”
As if the supply shortages themselves weren’t bad enough, Gramenz says the cost to get the parts keeps going up too. He says it’s forced him to raise his prices just to stay afloat.
“Our prices have gone up, and it isn’t because I’m trying to make more money in the shop,” Gramenz said. “It’s because I’m getting hit with fuel surcharges, I’m getting hit with delivery charges. A standard car, you could do (brake) pads and rotors, with labor, for right around 350, 380 bucks,” Gramenz continued. “The same car, same products, same job, is now over 500 bucks.”
While he says he doesn’t want to continue raising his prices, Gramenz hopes his customers can understand why he’s doing it, and why there might be waits on getting their vehicles repaired.
“What I want people to understand is that I don’t pick the prices for the parts,” Gramenz said. “I just want to deliver a quality product.”