Body shops inundated with work more crashes happen during fall: report

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Fall is right around the corner, but Tennessee is heading into the most dangerous season for driving. A new report from Carfax says crashes happen most frequently in the fall.

Despite what many motorists believe, winter is not the season when the majority of car crashes happen in most of the country. Tennessee is among the top states where crashes hit their highest numbers in the fall season.

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As the leaves change colors, local body shops are gearing up for an influx in repairs. However, the increase in crashes adds another issue to an industry already in a jam.

“You get in a wreck and now you have fewer shops than you’ve ever had and fewer techs than you’ve ever had,” said John Blanks, co-owner of Paint and Body Perfectors in South Nashville.

Many body shops are running on empty when it comes to manpower and parts, creating a backlog.

Blanks said scheduled repairs are now pushing into January of 2024, and during the fall season, the number of towed vehicles to the shop more than doubles. On top of that, with more people moving to the city and the incoming weather conditions, there’s more pressure on an already strained system since corporate shops don’t accept all vehicles.

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“It’s almost an uncontrollable deal, it really is; 2013 and ’14 is as far as they go back. They don’t work on anything older than that and that’s your major chains,” Blanks said. “If it turns out they won’t work on it, there’s nobody else; I think there’s four independents left in Nashville that’s a registered body shop; they get put on to us.”

Carfax data shows more than 72% or roughly 170 million U.S. drivers live in states where fall is the peak season for crash damage. The report cites diminishing daylight, slick surfaces from wet leaves, and deer as the reasons behind the uptick in crashes. The crashes, often fender benders, inundate shops with damaged cars needing similar repairs.

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“I would love to have five times the techs I have and stay open 24 hours a day if I had to. We did that one year. I don’t have those techs anymore; they don’t exist to that volume anymore,” said Blanks.

So as the fall ushers in the likelihood for more crashes, body shop owners hope to pump the brakes on other issues that could make those repairs harder to come by.

“It’s just getting out of hand in the body shop business. It really is,” said Blanks.

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