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North Texas heads into spring storm season with many auto body shops already badly backed up

But your smart phone may help speed the process if you sustain damage and need repairs

DALLAS — As we enter the spring severe weather season, damage to your home or vehicle can happen in minutes, and sometimes, seconds. But this year, the wait to get your vehicle repaired can take weeks. 

The reason: ongoing global supply chain problems.  

It's like the empty store shelves we’ve also gotten accustomed to amid the pandemic. 

“Sometimes getting a loaf of bread or a pack of tortillas…it is no different than getting a bumper or fender for a car. The opportunities are there, the obstacles are there to overcome," said Greg Simmons, VP of operations at Caliber Collision. 

In this environment where so many parts are so hard to procure, Simmons said Caliber has sometimes had to rely on its size to swap inventory between their 1,400 locations across the country.

“And work together as one unit to help secure a part or a supply that we may need it at one center that maybe another center even in another state may have," said Simmons. 

If you sustain damage, contact your insurer immediately. Some of them can process damage estimates using your smart phone. WFAA first showed you how State Farm started doing that last year

Many collision centers have similar programs that help customers with estimates and ordering parts without having to take in their vehicle, or worse yet, drop off your vehicle. 

“Which allows the repair companies to virtually look through photos of the vehicle -- the damage. We can start sourcing the parts and the materials and the supplies needed before we actually schedule the car in for repairs,” said Simmons.

Simmons said it’s about more than just parts shortages. Since new cars have been in such short supply, people are hanging onto and fixing their older autos. So, Caliber saw what may have been its busiest year last year, and that still hasn’t abated.

“So, it's been a combination of many different factors that all kind of came together in the perfect storm, and we're just here to work through it," said Simmons. 

As we head into the storm season, many car parts will likely remain in short supply. The same might also be said of patience. 

“So a little patience and a lot of communication, and we will certainly all get through it together," said Simmons. 

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