Auto repair shops struggle to keep up with damaged cars ahead of winter season

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(ABC 6 News) – During the winter months especially, driving safely should always be a top priority when out on the roads, with law enforcement always reminding drivers to slow down. Now, that same message is coming from auto repair shops, saying it could be months before damaged cars are able to be fixed

Local auto shops like Rossi’s Auto Body do not have enough workers or parts to keep up with the demand. Thursday, staff reported 285 cars on the waiting list to be fixed.

“We get the people that are frustrated with us like, ‘why can’t you do anything about it, why can’t you fix my car, you can fix my car,” explained Carrie Friese, parts manager at Rossi’s. “We’ve had people demand that we fix their cars. Unfortunately, we can’t.”

Operating with only 60% staff, Rossi’s has more damaged cars than they have people to fix them.

“If I stopped answering the phone right now, I would have work until schools out,” explained Rossi’s General Manager Jason Krukow.

The necessary parts to fix the cars are also taking months to come in. Oftentimes, staff at Rossi’s say the parts are damaged and unusable, which only pushes wait times farther back.

But even when you secure a spot in line, every time a wrecked car comes in, you are pushed farther down the list. Because undriveable cars are given first priority.

“We have so many assignments that are waiting,” added Krukow. “I still have vehicles that were damaged in April…May…June that are so minor that I can’t find space to get them done.”

Due to a current contract, Rossi’s can only accommodate customers of specific insurance company’s.

“Anything outside of our obligations…there just isn’t enough time in the day,” Krukow explained.

As a result, walk-ins are turned away.

“They’re frustrated. I get a lot of people, our old customers, that have been coming here for years that we have to push away,” Friese said. “The frustration and the disgust on their faces says enough alone.”

If you have a damaged car that needs to be fixed, buckle up, you’re in for a wait.

Krukow explains it could be at least March before cars needing minor repairs can be fixed.