Body Shop Taking Too Long To Fix Car [Explained]

The major reasons behind body shop taking too long to fix car are discovering additional damage, scarcity of parts, the complexity of the job, downtime, insurance company approval, quality control, and complicated electronics of modern cars.

If the body shop is taking an unreasonable amount of time to fix your car, you can establish a deadline for delivery with the body shop. Establish the deal in writing so that you can sue them if they don’t meet the agreed-upon deadline.

Keep reading this article to find out more about the legitimate reasons why body shops can take a long time to repair a car. You’ll also learn what you can do if the body shop that has your car is taking too long. Let’s dive in!

Body Shop Taking Too Long To Fix Car [Explained]

We’ll look at the most common reasons behind a body shop taking too long to repair your car in this section.

Note: You can also read how long does it take to polish a car.

1. Discovering Additional Damage

It’s hard to give an accurate measurement of how long it’ll take to fix a car before breaking it down first. When you get the first estimate from the body shop, the mechanics in the body shop often give it without looking into the body and only quote the time it would take to fix the problem at hand.

After disassembling the car, they often discover further damage. When they don’t have the parts to fix the additional damage, those parts need to be ordered. And that can take time and add a day or two.

Furthermore, they’d also require approval from both the car owner and the insurance company before they can move on and start the work. It’d also take more time to get the extra work done. All these things combined together take up more time than anticipated.

2. Scarcity Of Parts

If the faulty parts are commonly available, a reputable body shop can usually get them within a couple of days and continue working. But if the required parts are not in high demand, it can even take weeks to get a hold of them.

scarcity of parts

So, if you’re using a car of lesser demand, you can expect it to take a long for your body shop to find the parts. The holidays in between the working days and different occasions also end up increasing the time the car has to stay in the body shop.

3. Complexity Of The Job

It’s evident that if fixing your car is a complex job, it can take longer than expected; especially, if the damage was discovered after breaking the car down. The more difficult a job is, the longer it’ll take to fix it.

A body shop may require special equipment if there’s a structural repair required. The time to get the special equipment and set it up can take longer than expected.

If the electronics are complex, that’ll also take up more time. That’s because the car will have to be connected to scanning tools and they can take a fair amount of time to complete running the diagnostics.

4. Downtime

The mechanics in the body shop as well as the car owners often don’t account for downtime. But there could be many operational inefficiencies that can lead to waste of time. When giving the estimate, body shops usually measure the time required for each operation and quote you based on that.

But in reality, there are often delays when the work starts. For example, let’s say that the car in question has the body ready, and now it’s time to paint it.

But if the painters in the body shop are busy working on other cars and nobody is available, it has to sit around for a while.

As already mentioned, car owners themselves and insurance companies can end up increasing the downtime by taking a long time to respond.

In each stage of a car repair, there are several delays which leads to the car spending more time in the body shop than it has to.

5. Insurance Company Approval

A car insurance repair taking too long to approve a body shop repair is a common reason that increases how long a car stays in the body shop.

insurance  approval

While some insurance companies work quickly and can approve the job by just looking at pictures, others are not so lenient and can actually send people out to inspect the situation.

When they do that, it inevitably adds more time. Sometimes, the approval of insurance companies is required multiple times when working on a car. So, imagine how long it’ll take if they send personnel each time.

Your insurance company can sometimes encourage you to go to certain body shops. They say that your repair work can get started right away if you go to their desired body shops but it’ll take much longer to send someone to the body shop where you want your car to be repaired.

These companies have contracts with insurance companies and they’re called DRPs. Generally, it doesn’t take insurance companies more than 3 days to send someone to look at the damaged vehicle. But they can take longer on purpose so that you go to their desired body shop.

6. Quality Control

A reputable body shop will never want its customers to be unhappy with the body shop repair done on their car. So, there are often quality control procedures set up to make sure everything works well before handing over the car to the customer.

The quality check itself takes some time. But it gets much worse if the bodywork repair shops discover that they made a mistake or were left out doing any part of the job. It can end up taking a lot of time to fix these issues and get the car ready for final delivery.

7. Complicated Electronics

Modern cars have a bunch of electronics that need to be recalibrated when working on the car. It increases the body shop repair times to a degree. About 95% of the cars that come into a body shop can be scanned with a factory scanner.

complicated electronics

But sometimes, they can only be scanned by the dealer of the car. When that happens, it can take up long as the schedule of your car dealer may be busy on certain days. For all these reasons, even a simple car repair job can take up much longer than the anticipation of body repair shops and car owners.

What To Do If The Body Shop Is Taking Too Long

If the body shop is taking an unreasonable amount of time to fix your car, you have many options. But the main thing here is whether they’ve given you any valid reasons for the delay.

You have every right to talk to them and ask them why the repair is taking so long. Be specific with your questions and establish a real deadline for when you can expect the delivery. 

If they don’t give you any viable reasons for the delay, you can pick up your car. The issue here is that you have to be ready to pay the legal fees for the time the car was in your body shop.

Give them a deadline by sending them a legally served mail outlining the conditions of the repair and the consequences if they fail to deliver within the deadline. You can sue them in court if the deadline has passed.

If you contact the police, you’d usually get no help as this is a civil matter. You can go online and leave negative reviews about them on all relevant pages if you want to tarnish the reputation of the body shop.


How long does a body shop take to fix a car?

It depends on the severity of the issue. Simple auto body work or bumper replacements are usually done in a day or two. But if there’s extensive damage to multiple parts, it can easily take over a month.

What is a reasonable time for a car repair?

If your car is under warranty, you can consider 30 days to be a reasonable time for a car repair. If the company doesn’t give you valid reasons for why it’s taking longer, you can file for small claims court.

Do dealerships fix body damage?

Yes, most car dealerships have a service department that can handle collision issues and repair body damage for the models that they sell. But some of them also outsource the work to other companies instead of it doing it themselves.

Why body shop has had my car for 6 months?

The main reason behind a body shop having your car for a crazy amount of time is due to unavailability of parts. If the parts of your car are hard to find, the ETA of them can be uncertain.

How long can a mechanic legally keep your car to fix?

There’s usually no legal limit on how long a mechanic can take to fix your car. Unless you drafted some sort of a contract, you can’t take any legal action against a mechanic even if he’s taking too long.


Having your car caught up in the body shop is a nightmare. They keep extending the time further and that can make you even more anxious. At least, now you know the reasons behind the body shop taking too long to fix the car and how you can deal with it.

Sometimes, your car can take longer to fix because of real reasons like the unavailability of parts.

But if the body shop is taking too long without appropriate reasons, you can pick up your car or take legal action against them. Leave a comment below if you have any questions about body shops.

About John M

John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.

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