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Spokane auto shops swamped with repairs amid winter driving conditions

The demand is also being fueled by a shortage of parts and tires, as well as Spokane's growth in population.

SPOKANE, Wash. — It's hard to find a time that the garage at River City Body and Paint in downtown Spokane hasn't been filled with the sounds of power tools.

Crews have been consistently working all day to repair vehicles that come through their garage doors.

"Our phone's been ringing since the first snowfall," said Brianne Rasmussen, the shop manager at River City Body and Paint.

Even with the hard work, they've been booked out for months.

"Tow-ins, we're trying to get them in because they're not drivers," Rasmussen said, referring to vehicles with too much damage to operate. "Obviously, we're booked out. We're trying to work those in the best we can, but drivable vehicles, it's mid-March before we can get in for repairs."

River City isn't the only repair shop seeing high demand for its services. KREM reached out to three shops other than River City on Wednesday to check on their availability. One doesn't haven't availability until mid-February, while the other two said there were no available times until the end of January or the following weeks.

The flood of customers isn't just due to the winter weather.

"A lot of people are sliding into curbs. Then, their vehicles are non-drivers with suspension [damage]. A lot of people driving with tires that should be replaced, but there's a shortage of tires," Rasmussen said. 

Rasmussen said some car parts are also in short supply, leading to even more delays for some repairs. This is all combined with an ongoing theme in the Spokane area affecting many more industries that just those working in auto repair.

"I think some of the smaller shops have closed. A lot of people are moving into Spokane," Rasmussen said. "Our area is growing and so a lot more people are on the road. So I think that has played a part in the last year."