What's The Deal with Longer Car Repair Shop Wait Times?

And what can I do to minimize them?

Team LemonadeTeam Lemonade
why are car repairs taking so long

If you’ve taken your car to the mechanic recently, you’ve probably had to wait longer than usual for repairs. 

You need your car to get from Point A to B, so when it’s damaged and needs repairs, it can feel like there’s a literal roadblock sitting between you and where you need to go. 

The uncertainty around repair times—and being without your wheels—can be a stressful and frustrating experience. But understanding what’s causing these delays can help you better prepare for and navigate these situations. 

Let’s dive into some of the key concerns around car repairs today.

Here’s what we’ll discuss:

What is the average wait time for car repairs?

The time it takes for car repairs can vary widely based on several factors, including: 

  • The nature of the problem
  • The availability of parts
  • The capacity of the repair shop

For simpler tasks—like an oil change or tire rotation—you would expect most repair shops to complete the job within a few hours. More complex fixes, such as engine or transmission repairs, would typically take several days or even a couple of weeks.

But more recently, drivers are reporting that even the simplest of repairs are being delayed by months. 

Why is it taking so long for my car to be repaired?

There are a lot of reasons wait times have increased at auto repair shops. Let’s break down (no pun intended) some of the main drivers.

Global supply chain issues

The pandemic significantly impacted global supply chains, leading to parts shortages. This supply chain disruption means that more car replacement parts are now often on back order, extending the repair timeframe.

Shops may even delay scheduling repair appointments until they’re sure they have the required parts on hand to avoid rescheduling.

Limited staffing

Car repair shops are facing a national shortage of car repair technicians. This is mainly due to the fact that the amount of new professionals entering the industry is severely outnumbered by the amount of seasoned technicians retiring. 

With fewer hands on deck for the foreseeable future, repairs can take longer to complete.

Body shops nationwide are investing in recruiting and training new talent to enter the industry. Caliber Collision, for example, established the “Changing Lanes Career Skills Program” which offers a 15-week training program at no cost for service members looking to transition into a career in the collision repair and auto body industry.

Higher demand for repairs 

S&P Global Mobility reported that 2022 marked the fifth year in a row that the average vehicle age in the US rose. As the age of cars on the road increases, so does the demand for repair services.  

More and more car owners are seeking maintenance and repair, rather than simply buying a new car—leading to a surge in appointments and backlog, resulting in longer waiting times. 

Availability of repair appointments 

Getting a repair appointment in the first place can be a hurdle due to high demand and limited slots in many car repair shops. This can add to the total time it takes to complete the repair process.

Insurance company procedures

If your repair involves an insurance claim, the processing time can sometimes cause delays. Insurance companies may require estimates, photos, or inspections before authorizing the repair work.

At Lemonade Car, we built a simple process for reporting your car’s damage, which ideally helps you get your car repaired faster. 

How long can car repairs legally take?

There’s no hard and fast rule about how long car repairs can legally take, as it can depend on various factors, such as the nature of the repair, availability of parts, and workload of the repair shop. 

While there aren’t regulations around repair times, most states do have regulations around cost. Repair shops are generally required to provide a written price estimate, and they cannot exceed that estimate by more than roughly 10 to 20% without your approval. 

What can I do to ensure my car repairs are completed in a timely manner?

The factors driving extended delays in car repairs are mostly out of your control. But there are some measures you can take to help speed up the process.

Keep up with routine maintenance

Taking your car for preventative maintenance on a regular basis can help identify issues early, before they become major problems that would require more costly (and time consuming) repairs.

Some services are just non-negotiable when it comes to improving and extending the life of your vehicle—like a full-service oil change. Don’t forget to make sure it’s done by a certified professional.

“Full-service oil change” is a bit of a confusing term, since this service includes a range of additional things. Make sure it includes things like: 

  • Oil change (shocking, we know)
  • Oil filter check 
  • Fluids check—like coolant and windshield wiper fluids
  • Brake pads check
  • Engine air filter check 
  • Tire rotation

And if you drive an electric vehicle (EV), some routine maintenance—though usually way less than for a gas-powered car—will still play a vital role in giving your EV a happier and healthier life.

Choose a reputable repair shop

Do some research, check out reviews, and compare shops to find trustworthy auto repair shops that are known for their efficient service. 

When you file a car insurance claim on the Lemonade app, you’ll have the option to take your car to a shop of your choice, or to a shop that Lemonade has had positive experiences with in the past. 

The process is a bit smoother if you opt for a shop that Lemonade has had positive experiences with in the past (we’ll provide you with a list of nearby vendors we’ve worked with before). We can help monitor the repairs from start to finish, and can guarantee the quality of the repairs.

Be proactive

If you’re expecting a repair to take some time, ask the garage about a loaner vehicle, or book a rental car to make your life a little easier. 

FYI if you include temporary transportation coverage on your Lemonade Car policy, you’ll be covered for almost any type of transportation—like a rental car, or a rideshare—for up to a month while you’re waiting for your car to be repaired from a covered incident.

Communicate effectively

Clearly explain the problem, ask for estimates, and maintain open communication with the mechanic or service provider to avoid any confusion or unnecessary delays. 

Learn more about how you can head to the repair shop with confidence here.

Plan ahead

If your car is under warranty and requires repairs, make sure to schedule an appointment well in advance with the dealership or approved repair business to avoid long wait times.

Filing a claim for damage to your car from an accident? When you drive with Lemonade Car, we recommend getting your car to the repair shop right away, even before you start a claim on our app.

Before we go…

Long car repair wait times have become an unfortunate, but commonplace reality. While you can’t control global supply chain disruptions or staffing shortages, understanding these issues and being proactive in your approach can help make the repair process smoother.

One of the most significant factors in ensuring a positive repair experience is your car insurance provider. When comparing online car insurance quotes and car insurance companies, look beyond just the cost and coverages, and check how your insurer will support you after an accident, including during the repair process. 

Ready to start your free quote with Lemonade Car? Click below.

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A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.


Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.