PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Cars drove into Mascari’s Auto Body Wednesday afternoon, a sign of how much damage this winter has inflicted.
“Very good for business,” owner Dennis Mascari told KDKA money editor Jon Delano. “In fact, an overabundance of work in this facility at this time.”
Fender benders on snowy and icy roads take a toll — even on drive-able cars.
“Creases down the side of a car, bumper cover that’s cracked, a tail light that may be scuffed or scratched but not broken,” itemized Mascari.
And then there’s this.
“Repair like that’s going to cost somewhere around $10,000,” said Chuck Eyerman, of Chuck’s Auto Body.
One damaged truck was flat-bedded into Chuck’s Auto Body after the snow Tuesday morning.
“Unfortunately, it was going down a hill,” said Eyerman. “Gentleman lost control, and instead of hitting another car, he decided to take the other option and run off the road, into a tree.”
Repair shops say the big jobs get priority, which delays work on others.
“We’re booking now on drivable cars — that are considered drivable vehicles — until the last week of March,” noted Mascari.
Another reason for delay?
Insurance companies are so overwhelmed with claims, say auto repairers, that they’re behind signing off on the work.
How far behind?
“State Farm I heard was 400 and some claims, but that was a couple weeks ago. I’m sure that’s changed,” said Ed Yeager, of Yeager Auto Body.
That’s not the only problem.
While there are plenty of cars that need to be repaired this winter, auto repair shop owners say there’s a real shortage of people with the skills and talent to repair those cars.
“I could put three fully trained body techs to work tomorrow,” said Mascari.
Mascari says it’s hard to find good repairers, in part because there’s been a decline in body shops from 50,000 nationwide to just 25,000 now.
“There’s a lot of people not going in to this business,” noted Mascari. “In the last 10 years, we’ve seen the demise of body shops, not an increase.”
Meaning a longer wait to get your winter auto damage repaired.