Winter weather keeping West Michigan auto repair shops busy


    Car getting bumper fixed at Dunshee Body and Frame in Vicksburg. (WWMT/Jorge Rodas)

    Several Kalamazoo area auto shops said the cold, snow, and ice are giving them plenty of work.

    Bob Smith, a manager at Otto Kihm Auto and Tire Service in Kalamazoo, showed a garage packed with vehicles being serviced.

    "Right now, we're booking one to two days in advance, usually it's only one day," said Bob Smith.

    Many vehicles were getting work done for damaged suspension systems or other damage caused by slippery roads.

    “A curb hit bends a strut, control arms, linkages, tie-rod ends, bends wheels, ruins tires," Smith said.

    He said repair costs could range from less than $500 to more than $2,000 for winter related fixes.

    Smith said business really kicked up after a January snow storm hit Kalamazoo on Friday night and Saturday.

    “It’ll take us a while to get caught up after the weather warms up," Smith said.

    Some businesses are backlogged, which forced customers to wait several hours, or in some cases several days, for their cars to be fixed.

    “We’re used to things right away and when it’s cold out and there’s a line of people needing stuff, it’s hard waiting for your car to be done," Smith said.

    Joe Townsend, the owner of Dunshee Body and Frame, Inc., said there are several vehicles with damage related to recent winter weather at his Vicksburg location.

    “She was out going down a road and started to slide and she went to over-correct and I think she caught a dry patch of pavement where it wasn’t ice and the vehicle rolled over a couple times," Townsend said while showing off a damaged SUV at his shop. "It's like everybody forgets how to drive even though most of us grew up around here, lived in Michigan and should know how to deal with it."

    Townsend said an easy way to avoid high repair costs and the wait to have your car fixed is simple; make sure you have good tires and slow down when the weather is bad.

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