SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Getting your car fixed isn’t as simple as it used to be before the pandemic. Auto mechanic shops all over KELOLAND are seeing a flood of business and that means long wait times.
As we found out today, there are a number of factors contributing to the delays.
The mechanics at Airway Auto Service in Sioux Falls are as busy as they’ve been in years.
Owner Tom Broadbent says there are several factors for the dramatic rise in business, including people traveling more for work and recreation.
“Everybody needs to be out driving now and it’s just gone crazy,” said Broadbent.
So how far out are you scheduling right now?
“We’re in that three-week range right now. We are struggling for help like everybody but I got my core group of guys and they’re knocking it out of the park.”
For the first time since the shop opened, they are advertising for help on their marquee. Broadbent says he could hire 5 more technicians today.
Cynthia Rieffer’s Jeep had a major problem. Her drive belt was almost shredded. Without it, her Wrangler would have been stuck on the side of the road.
“Kind of an important part of the engine,” she said.
TOM HANSON: So were you able to get in right away to get this fixed?
CYNTHIA: Oh yeah.
TOM HANSON: So you got lucky because you know there is like a three-week waiting list.
“Oh yeah I see their cars all over town I know how busy they are,” said Rieffer.
The pandemic may be winding down in South Dakota because of vaccinations, but Broadbent says there is a lingering problem that can still delay car repairs.
“Parts availability has just been horrible. We waited for two months for an engine that just showed up.”
Broadbent says job applications have slowly been rising, so he is hopeful the hiring situation will improve once the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits end in South Dakota on June 27th.