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Local auto glass shops facing glass shortage

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Posted at 3:58 PM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 22:42:29-05

Most industries have experienced some sort of shortage during the pandemic.

Now a global glass shortage is delaying car windshield and window replacements by weeks and even months in some cases.

“We used to be able to get glass overnight and now we're seeing it, sometimes we have customers that are waiting three months to get a windshield,” said Tiffany Swindell, Co-Owner of JJB Auto Glass in Atascadero.

Swindell says they’re being hit by a glass shortage for the first time in their 18 years of business.

Experts say it’s due to a combination of manufacturing and shipping delays.

“Unfortunately, there's no rhyme or reason to it… of what vehicle, what glass,” Swindell explained. “It could be two Jeeps and one Jeep glass is available and one’s not.”

Swindell says when their distributor and the dealerships are out, she has technicians drive out of the area to pick up product.

“We've driven to Palm Springs to get glass for our customers. Today I have a technician headed to Fresno to get glass,” she said.

SLO Auto Glass & Tint says they’ve experienced shortages as well.

First, they experienced a shortage in the adhesive used for windshields and then there was a shortage of the laminate that goes in between the glass.

“We got through that and now it seems like our major glass supplier for this area has had a computer issue and we haven't been able to get any glass from them for a week so we've gone to our backup supplies and they're doing their best to keep us up and going,” said Tony Zabala, Owner of SLO Auto Glass & Tint.

National auto glass shop Safelite posted on its website that COVID-19 has forced glass manufacturers across the globe to close their factories and the vaccine rollout has required massive amounts of glass to produce vials. The company says this means extended wait times for customers and less appointment availability.

Meanwhile, even with the shortages and delays amid an increase in car break-ins and windshield damage from recent winter storms, local shops are remaining positive.

“We've really been pretty blessed throughout this thing to be still in business and keeping all of our employees going,” Zabala said.

Economists say that we could see some relief in supply chains in the middle of this year.