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Car Dealership Service Delays: Everything You Need to Know

Car dealerships often include “free” service contracts with each new vehicle they sell. However, drivers now find that their dealership service department cannot fit them in for their appointments. You might find yourself waiting several weeks or even months for a simple oil change. This issue leaves drivers out of luck when they need vital repairs or routine services. So what is causing the long car dealership service appointment waits? How can dealership delays impact drivers? Our local mechanics are here with insight. 

Issue #1: Car Part Shortages

Supply chain disruptions have left certain car parts needed for service on backorder. However, this supply issue impacts car dealerships far more severely than it affects local mechanics. Why? 

  • Dealership Service Departments: Car manufacturers want to make as much money as possible. As such, they often require dealership service departments to only use brand-name parts directly from the manufacturer. The dealership service department is helpless when a part is in short supply. 
  • Local Mechanics: Meanwhile, local mechanics can choose from a wide variety of high-quality and trusted brands for car parts. When buying from a larger pool of trusted manufacturers, local mechanics can more easily overcome the service delays of supply chain disruptions. 

Issue #2: Staffing Shortages

Nationwide staffing shortages have led to service delays across industries. When new hires are in high demand, employees tend to choose the workplaces that offer the best working conditions—including pay, hours, benefits, and treatment. The car service/repair industry is no different. 

Unfortunately, dealerships have a bad reputation for poor working conditions, low pay, and lacking benefits. As a result, many qualified technicians and mechanics have opted to work at local mechanics instead of dealership service departments. Without a full staff, many dealership service departments cannot provide timely services. 

(Hint: Chapel Hill Tire provides our employees with paid training, competitive compensation/benefits, and plenty of paid time off—in addition to closing our shops on nights, weekends, and holidays. Plus, we treat our employees and customers like family. You can apply here today!

Issue #3: Car Sale Priorities

New and used cars are in short supply and high demand—leaving the prices skyrocketing. Why? Chip shortages, staffing shortages, and other supply chain issues have impacted the production of new cars. Additionally, rising gas prices have led to an increased demand for hybrid, electric, and newer fuel-efficient vehicles. When the supply is low, and demand is high, the prices begin to inflate. Car dealerships are working to cash in on these elevated car prices.

On the other hand, the free and discounted services included with many new cars can hurt the dealerships’ bottom line. They have to pay mechanics and technicians without making any money for their work. As a result, many dealerships are lending more of their financial resources, time, attention, and money to car sales departments instead of the service and repair departments. 

In short: dealerships are dedicating most of their internal mechanic resources to fixing up trade-ins and loaner cars for sale—leaving a limited amount of time for customer service appointments.

Issue #4: Loaner Car and Shuttle Car Shortages

Extending free loaner cars during overnight service appointments is a courtesy expected of many dealerships and high-quality mechanics. However, dealerships tend to provide this service by lending out the used cars on their lots. The same applies to the shuttle cars required to support customers during appointments. With used cars in short supply, dealerships are selling most of their potential loaner cars instead.

Meanwhile, mechanic networks like Chapel Hill Tire have an in-house fleet of hybrid vehicles dedicated only to shuttles and loaner cars—preventing this delay. 

The Outcome of Service Delay Shortages

Service delays and shortages caused by dealerships can have a variety of negative effects on drivers. Let’s take a closer look 5 common ways drivers are disadvantaged by these service delays.

1: Missed Routine Services and Vehicle Issues

Routine vehicle services are recommended for a reason. These vital services prevent safety issues and larger vehicle repairs. Let’s say, for example, you miss an oil change because your dealership service department could not fit you in for an appointment. Clean engine oil keeps your engine parts moving and working together. However, you might end up paying for costly engine damage instead of an affordable oil change service after missing this appointment. Even when issues are not immediately apparent, straining your engine could result in more issues down the road and a shortened vehicle lifespan. You can read our guide to the importance of same-day services here.

2: Repair Delays and Loss of Transportation

In some cases, your car services simply cannot wait. A car accident, blown-out tire, or worn-out brake pads might leave you without safe transportation. You cannot put your life on hold or compromise your safety because of dealership service delays. 

3: Traffic Stops and Tickets

An inspection and safety services are required for drivers renewing their vehicle registration. If your tags expire because your dealership could not fit you in for an inspection, you could get a ticket on the road. You could also get a ticket for missing other repairs/services—such as burnt-out headlight replacement or faulty turn signal repair. 

4: Loss of Scheduling Flexibility

It can be difficult to fit car service appointments with your schedule—especially when life can be so unpredictable. Many drivers cannot plan their schedule months in advance to accommodate limited service appointment availability. Limited and delayed appointments lack the flexibility you might need to make your car service work with your life and schedule

5: Expired Service Contracts

Many “free” dealership service contracts are limited. For example, you might find that your contract only lasts for 1-year or 15,000 miles. When it takes several weeks or months to get in for an appointment, you might find your contract expires before you can receive the promised services. 

Can My Car Dealership Deny Me Service?

You might be wondering how dealerships are getting away with not providing the services they promised in their sales contracts. After all, drivers will have to pay the price if a delayed car service appointment leads to vehicle issues or damage. It almost feels illegal for dealerships to put customers in this position after promising service. However, it is important to remember that many dealerships have limited control over this situation. 

Can you fight back when a dealership delays your service appointment? The short answer is no. While their sales contract might promise you car service, many agreements do not specify how quickly the services will be completed. Because dealerships are delaying services rather than refusing them entirely, they are not technically breaching their contracts in many instances. While you cannot fight back, you can choose to skip the dealership and visit a trusted local mechanic instead. 

Chapel Hill Tire Car Service Appointments

You do not have to wait for service when you call Chapel Hill Tire. We offer same-day or next-day appointments at all 10 of our Triangle-area locations. You can find our shops across Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. Our local mechanics will get you in, out, and Driving Happy in no time. We invite you to make an appointmentbrowse our coupons, or give us a call today to get quick, industry-leading service without delay!

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