Auto parts shortage leads to repair delays – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth


A family in North Texas said when their car broke down, they learned it took up to a year to complete the repair – due to a shortage of auto parts.

Read on to find out what is behind the problem and what consumers need to know before an outage.

“We make car payments on a car that’s just sitting in a lot”

When their lightly worn 2014 Ford Focus stalled, Amber Cahalan hoped for an easy fix.

“This car has really low mileage: only 50,000 miles,” said Cahalan.

Cahalan said the family bought the vehicle out of state before moving to North Texas. They took the car to the nearest Ford dealership where the Cahalans learned the car would need a new transmission control module, or TCM. It’s a warranty repair that would normally put the car in the shop for a day or two.

Cahalan said after-sales service told him the part was out of national stock.

“He pointed out several cars that were all sitting there waiting for this part,” Cahalan said.

Cahalan said after-sales service told him the repair could take up to a year.

“So now we’re making car payments on a car that just sits,” Cahalan told NBC 5 Responds.

“We don’t want to hold nobody’s car”

Many auto parts, at all levels, are in short supply.

“We don’t want to hold anyone’s car,” said Marc Cannon, executive vice president of AutoNation, the dealership that works on Cahalan’s car.

“I hope we are lucky and can do it before the end of the year. We’ve had some success recently with purchasing some parts, but it’s a tough situation and it affects all dealers in the United States, ”Cannon added.

“It’s a systemic disruption,” said Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association – which represents some 300 auto parts manufacturers and suppliers.

McCarthy said the problem in the supply chain extends beyond the shortage of computer chips.

“Every day our members wake up and here’s a new problem, I fix it and it’s fucked up, here’s the next thing,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said several factors came into play. He points to an increase in demand as the economy started to restart after pandemic lockdowns as well as transportation delays at U.S. ports and difficulties finding space in US ports. trucks and enough drivers.

There are also labor shortages in the manufacturing sector and a shortage of materials like precious metals and steel.

“This is the biggest disruption in the supply chain, the biggest challenge we’ve encountered in meeting customer demand in almost a century,” said McCarthy. “We think it’s the biggest we’ve had since WWII.”

A resolution and advice for consumers

“Personally, I have contacted other dealers and their stories are pretty much the same. It’s out of national stock, ”Cahalan told NBC 5 Responds earlier this fall.

Without a TCM available, Cahalan said AutoNation worked with her to trade in the Focus for a vehicle her family could use now.

Cahalan said the dealership was offering fair trade-in value and the family were back on the road.

The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association has said that an independent mechanic might have a better chance of getting a part you need, but that might not help if it’s a warranty repair.

Now, more than ever, the AASA has said stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance to avoid breakdown.

NBC 5 Responds has contacted Ford regarding the overdue TCM national order. He did not respond with answers to our questions.

NBC 5 Responds is committed to investigating your concerns and getting your money back. Our aim is to provide you with answers and, if possible, solutions and a resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or complete our Customer Complaint Form.


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