Lengthy collision repair wait times as winter driving season gets underway in Manitoba

Drivers waiting for vehicle collision repairs can expect to wait for some time as the winter driving season gets underway.

“Collision (repairs) for winter picked up as soon as the first snowfall hit. We got busier at that point,” InterCity Autobody owner Jim Mydonick told Global News.

Mydonick says business has been booming at his repair shop ever since pandemic restrictions lifted, but it’s also causing wait times for repairs to rise drastically.

“We’re currently booking into the first week of January,” Mydonick said. “Other shops are booking into March. So it’s anywhere from five to eight weeks.”

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Industry experts say that’s partly due to delays in receiving imported vehicle parts — delays which still haven’t fully recovered from the pandemic.

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“Parts that used to be two or three days are now two or three weeks behind,” Automotive Trades Association of Manitoba executive director Denis Cloutier said.

“But there are parts you can’t even get an ETA for.”

Cloutier adds a shortage of technicians is also playing a role, as many labourers left the industry permanently amid the pandemic slowdown.

“Shops cannot find skilled technicians to repair cars,” he said. “I think most shops would hire an additional skilled technician tomorrow if they could find one.”

Read more: Supply chain issues putting the brakes on car repairs in Saskatoon

It’s a shortage that also has a trickle-down effect for drivers looking for a rental or temporary vehicle, if their insurance doesn’t cover loss of use.

“It’s tougher for shops now to provide cars now for all the people that are waiting,” Mydonick said. “Because it’s really tough to put a customer in a car that we’re paying for for six or eight weeks.”

According to MPI, there have been 166,718 claims reported to MPI as of Nov. 20 this year, compared to 131,203 in the same period in 2021.

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