MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The extreme cold has made driving a challenge for many across the metro area.

From cars that didn’t start to fender benders along every stretch of highway, this polar blast translates into big bucks for repair shops.

The majority of those shops have holding areas filled with dozens of banged up vehicles waiting to be repaired.

Jason Junghans at Lehman’s Garage in south Minneapolis has been doing estimates on damaged vehicles since early this morning.

“The last three days … extremely busy,” Junghans said.

Lehman’s is close to capacity.

“The parking lot tells the story,” he said.

Dented and banged-up vehicles cover the lot.

“A lot of smaller jobs with the lower-speed impacts, and then on the other extreme you get a lot of the more heavily-extensive work with severe damage that’s very time consuming,” he said.

Most blame the “polar vortex” for the cold temps across Minnesota, which make for hazardous driving and causes hundreds of accidents.

Many of those vehicles end up waiting at body shops.

“There are a lot of times where we have to move a dozen cars just to get to one,” Junghans said.

Lehman’s does both mechanical and body work, so their lot is cramped and turnaround time is slow.

“If vehicles are drivable, we’re scheduling out approximately two weeks,” he said. “A lot of that is depending on parts availability as well.”

A hit and run brought Zachery Dennis to Lehman’s. Although he may have to wait to get his car fixed, he is counting his blessings.

“Most of the front of a lot of those cars in the parking lot is missing, and I feel really lucky to just have a little crack on the side of mine,” Dennis said.

Owners of cars that are drivable are being told to make appointments for the next couple of weeks while shop guys work on those that are pretty banged up.

Some of the wait may be associated with finding the correct parts.

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