Storm damage to cars takes toll on tires, wheels and auto bodies

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Cars parked in snow

Vivian Barrett

What place is safer than the roads for your car when it snows? This one.

While the Feb. 2 blizzard was still on its way, auto repair shops and tow truck companies prepared for customers. 

Josh Clayton, owner of H&H Mobil Fuels, Service and Towing, said preparations related primarily to staffing and not equipment.

“We bring on additional staff when we have storms like this,” Clayton said. “Our equipment is continuously maintained throughout the season.”

Other Ingham County auto shops took similar precautions. Tuffy Tire and Auto Service Center employee Mark Shutes said, “It’s all part of what we do anyways,” Shutes said. “It just becomes more of a problem with the snow.”

Auto repair shops and tow truck companies expect to see some storm damage. Calvin Badgley, owner of Badgley’s Garage, said most damage occurs to car bodies and tires.

“We see a lot of curb damage,” Badgley said. “Tire shakes, tire vibrations, from getting snow packed into the rims.”

Clayton recommends keeping a charged cellphone with you in case of emergency and, most importantly, driving extra cautiously in heavy snow.

“Take a few extra minutes to get to where you’re going,” Clayton said. “Slow down.”

Badgley said his best advice for anyone wanting to drive during the storm is “if you don’t have to drive, don’t.” Staying off the roads until they are plowed and salted is the best way to keep you and your car safe, he said. However, if driving is necessary there are a few steps to take to keep yourself and your car safer.

“Make sure you have blankets, some bottles of water with you, good tires properly inflated with good tread on them, and try to keep more than a half tank of fuel in your car,” Badgley said. “Those are all things you want to do for the whole winter.”

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