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Parts problems: Supply chain affecting auto repair shops

Car repair businesses are forced to be creative when it comes to fixing your vehicle. Spare parts have become hard to find.

STROUD TOWNSHIP, PA — Like any small business owner, Rich Banks doesn't like turning away customers. He's been running Pocono Motion Body Shop in Stroud Township for nearly 40 years.

For the last two to three years, he hasn't been able to fix every car that's shown up in his garage.

"It's been very difficult. The supply chain is just not good."

For example, an SUV in the shop needed a new hood. Banks says he found one on the west coast. It was three weeks before the hood arrived at the shop. When it's all said and done, this customer should have the vehicle car back within six weeks.

Banks says for big jobs like this, he used to be able to get the customer back behind the wheel within ten days. He just can't make that guarantee anymore.

"My manager gets frustrated, I get frustrated, the insurance companies get frustrated," Banks said. "But they're actually working with us too. So it's, you know, after 40 years in business, this is just the new norm in America. It's a shame."

The new norm also includes getting creative.

Banks says he pays a retired man in his 70s out of his own pocket to drive as far away as Vermont to pick up parts. If a part is nowhere to be found, his staff might try to fix what's broken.

"You have a body man sitting here for four hours straightening a $10 piece that you can't get. Last week, we had a headlight, little plastic piece, we had to plastic weld it. We couldn't get one any place. It was on a 2013 Honda Pilot, and we just couldn't get it, a broken piece in three pieces, plastic weld it, and put it on the car."

Banks says, for the most part, his customers understand because they're used to dealing with this in other industries.

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