BRAZOS COUNTY, TEXAS — The automotive industry is still seeing temporary effects the winter storm left, effectively slowing them down in their tracks.
Our roads look much better now than the slick icy conditions that blanketed them two weeks ago. With the treacherous conditions, some drivers found themselves in unfamiliar environments, resulting in damage and collisions.
For DeMontrond Collision Center in Bryan, collisions are normally what comes through their garage doors, and the demand from vehicles needing repairs from our winter storm was no exception.
"We are seeing a lot of front-end hits, undercarriage damage, slipping off of the road due to the ice... Hitting curbs. A lot of mechanical jobs with suspension, because people just lost control, hit curbs, and then hit off the road," Sam Egan, Body Shop Manager at DeMontrond shared with 25 News.
Egan says, he didn't see as many damaged cars as he anticipated from the dire icy conditions, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing, because that meant cars stayed off the roads.
"With COVID-19, there's not as much traffic on the road with the kids not being in school and then with the freeze, I think a lot of people took the cautious route and stayed home which is the safe bet," Egan added.
Egan says he believes dealers were also using caution and not risking their drivers out on the roads, resulting in parts like bumpers, taking a little longer to come in.
"It's kinda evening out here now. I think everything is getting back to normal. Knock on wood, but yes, there was a slight delay for a week or so," Egan added.
Egan says, at the end of the day, they lost about a week of business in Feb, which ultimately affects other businesses in the automotive industry who rely partly on shops being open, like Gladney Automotive Solutions.
"Say an airbag module needs to be replaced, they contact us and we go out and program that module for them on site. If there is a camera, a front radar camera, damaged, we calibrate that for them as well," Tony Ha, Service Manager at Gladney Automotive Solutions said.
Ha says, he did notice a disruption in the supply chain with ordering a few parts, some weren't as accessible as others, and looking for alternatives sometimes meant their business had to pay a little more. However, he says the safety of their customers took the front seat.
"Any kind of car repairs is never convenient and we realize that, so we try to make it as less painful as possible for our customers. If that means charging a little less for a repair or not making as much on a repair, we absorb that, because we do have our customer's best interest at heart," Ha added.
While the arctic blast forced their doors to close temporarily, both businesses say they are back in the swing of things, full speed ahead.