Disruption in Parts Availability Affecting Purchasing - Tire Review Magazine

Disruption in Parts Availability Affecting Purchasing

Research firm IMR Inc. interviewed 400 independent repair shops, in the U.S., to gain insight on their parts and brand purchasing experience during the pandemic.

Automotive repair shops and part stores were deemed “essential” businesses by the U.S. government amidst the coronavirus pandemic that forced the majority of the nation to abide by shelter-in-place rules over the past several months. While many shops and stores remained open, the majority of the aftermarket has reported a slowdown in business during this time. In addition, many manufacturers temporarily stopped operations or shifted to producing products to help battle the virus. Some experts predicted this could lead to shortages or availability issues.

Research firm IMR Inc. interviewed 400 independent repair shops, nationally representative by location in the U.S., to gain insight on their parts and brand purchasing experience during the pandemic.

This report focuses on the impact that shelter-in-place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic have had on independent repair shops, their revenue and ability to obtain parts needed for vehicle service.

According to IMR’s research, 84% of shops in urban, suburban and rural locations, ranging in size from one to eight or more bays reported that they have experienced a decrease in revenue, due to the pandemic. Of those shops, 60.4% responded that they don’t know when revenue levels may return to “normal.”

When it comes to disruption in getting parts for the vehicles they service, 49% of shops answered that they have either “very frequently” (14.8%), “frequently” (11%) or “occasionally” (23%), experienced this issue. Conversely, 30.8% of respondents said that they have “rarely” experienced disruption during this time, with the majority of these shops being in urban (34.8%) or suburban (31.4%) locations.

IMR said some shops reported that they had to source parts outside of their normal supplier due to these disruptions. Of those shops that switched suppliers, 49.4% cited their top reason for switching was that their regular supplier didn’t have the parts they needed.

Of the shops that said they had to switch “very frequently” (1%), “frequently” (7.8%) and “occasionally” (11.8%), 61% said that online sources like eBay or Amazon were their top choice for purchasing the parts they needed. In contrast, 79.6% of shops either “rarely” (26.8%) or “never” (52.8%) had to source parts from outside of their normal suppliers.

Shops also reported that in some instances, they switched from their regular or preferred brand to an alternative brand of part. Of shops that responded either “very frequently” (0%), “frequently” (2.8%) or “occasionally” (15.6%) that they switched brands, 73.4% did so based on lack of availability.

For 81.6% of shops, they either “rarely” (36.2%) or “never” (45.4%) had to switch from their preferred parts brand.

IMR Inc. also asked shops in urban, suburban and rural areas about what measures they have implemented to help keep employees and customers safe during the pandemic, with the top response (82%) being increased sanitation of the garage.

Disinfecting vehicle interiors (79%) and making hand sanitizer available to customers (75.8%) and providing face masks to employees (71.5%) were also among top responses.

Access the entire report here for more information on how the stay-at-home orders and COVID-19 have impacted independent repair shops.

You May Also Like

GRI appoints new director of North America

Ydo Doornbos has spent 29 years in the tire industry, and will now lead GRI’s efforts to expand the company in the North American market.


GRI has appointed Ydo Doornbos as director of North America. With a career spanning 29 years in the tire industry in various management roles, Doornbos began in 1995 with a six-month internship at Monarch Industrial Tires in the USA. He moved on to Trelleborg Wheel Systems (TWS) as the regional sales & operations manager in Europe for the Monarch brand and was then promoted to marketing manager Europe for the TWS Industrial Tires division.

Nexen Tire America details its 2024 U.S. motorsports program

Nexen Tire Motorsports drivers competed at the “Streets of Long Beach” Pro Championship event using the company’s N’Fera Sport R tire.

Chapel Hill Tire opens 12th location in Durham, NC

Chapel Hill Tire said the new Durham location will offer everything from routine maintenance to complex repairs.

Hankook acquires additional stake in thermal management systems company, Hanon Systems

Hankook & Company Group said it will hold a 50.53% stake in Hanon Systems and take management rights as the largest shareholder.

Handshake agreement
PRT launches 59 new complete strut assemblies

Extending PRT’s product portfolio in North America, the new release represents nearly 12M vehicles in new coverage.


Other Posts

Tire Discounters partners with the Atlanta Braves for home run promotion

For every home run hit by the Braves this year in a game, Tire Discounters will give fans discounts on Goodyear/Cooper tires.

Michelin sponsors WWII vets’ return to Normandy for D-Day 80th anniversary

WWII vets will participate in several parades, ceremonies and celebrations during their 10-day tour of the Normandy region.

McCarthy Tire Service partners with Truckers Against Trafficking

McCarthy Tire Service has launched a company policy aimed at identifying and reporting potential human trafficking situations.