Bad weather threat boosts consumer attention to cars


Dropping temperatures mean it’s time to winterize your car, and you won’t have to drop a lot of money into it if you spend the time doing checks now.

All 14 bays at the Grismer Tire on Columbia Avenue in Springfield were full Monday morning, and they had plenty of customers waiting in the lobby. When the forecast calls for snow “everybody finally realizes that they have to do something about their tires,” said Pat Fiorita, store assistant manager.

“The biggest thing is going to be air pressure in the tires and also the tread depth,” he said.

Most shops will do a visual inspection on tires, including tread depth, for free. Tire treads can also be checked at home using a penny or quarter. If you can see Lincoln’s hair on the penny or the top of Washington’s head on the quarter when you put the coins head-first between your tire treads, the depth is too low. This can cause your car to skid on snow and ice, Fiorita said.

That’s the situation Karen Orr was facing with her tires. She spent $700 to get them replaced, but she said that was much cheaper than causing an accident.

“With the economy the way it is, it saves everybody money to be ready for the winter,” she said. “It’s definitely peace of mind knowing you can get back home and to work safely.”

Coolant and battery checks are another item most mechanics will check for free. A battery won’t hold a charge properly in colder temperatures if it is more than five years old. A new one costs about $100, depending on the vehicle model. Float checks ensure coolant won’t freeze when the temperature drops, causing your engine to overheat. A $100 flush can replace old coolant— a much cheaper price tag, Fiorita said, than if your engine overheats.

“There’s expansion there and what can happen is it can actually crack a block or a head (gasket) and you can be anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 to replace that,” he said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Middle school teacher riles up border patrol by refusing to say if she’s American
Middle school teacher riles up border patrol by refusing to say if she’s American

A San Diego middle school teacher recorded a recent encounter with several U.S. Border Patrol agents that has since gone viral. Shane Parmely was stopped at an immigration checkpoint and asked if she was an American citizen. As she wasn’t crossing a border between countries, Parmely didn’t think that there was any need to answer the question...
Police: Impaired driver arrested in car with no windshield, no doors, ax sticking out of roof
Police: Impaired driver arrested in car with no windshield, no doors, ax sticking out of roof

Jared Price, 21, was arrested on Monday after reports came in of him riding in a “suspicious vehicle.” But, the term “suspicious” doesn’t even begin to describe the car that Price was operating. When police in New York pulled him over, they realized that the car had no doors, no windshield and no license plates, and...
3-year-old Alabama girl injured when pig attacks her in yard
3-year-old Alabama girl injured when pig attacks her in yard

A neighbor’s pet pig is at a county animal shelter after it attacked a 3-year-old girl in Rogersville, Alabama. WHNT reported that Bella White was in her family’s yard with her two brothers when a neighbor’s pet pig came into the yard and attacked her. “My boys came running in, saying the pig was attacking Bella. I came running...
Website ranks Florida as worst state in America
Website ranks Florida as worst state in America

One website really doesn’t like Florida, and it isn’t afraid to let its readers know it. The folks at Thrillist put together a list that ranks each state based on it’s “contributions to America,” which include such factors as physical beauty, inventions and food and drink. Florida finished dead last. Although at least...
Springfield couple celebrate 73 years of marriage at Clark County Fair
Springfield couple celebrate 73 years of marriage at Clark County Fair

Larry Skeen’s frequent travel might have been the secret to a long and happy marriage. “Larry traveled so much, I was always glad to see him,” his wife, Sue Skeen said. Larry and Sue Skeen were crowned King and Queen of the Golden Wedding Anniversary Party on Tuesday at the Clark County Fair as one of the longest married couples of...
More Stories