Pharos-Tribune

Local News

February 24, 2014

Traffic jam: Auto shops seeing huge business increase

Harsh winter drives up business at auto shops

Automobile repair shops in the area are experiencing significant increases in business brought on by wrecks from dangerous road conditions during this year’s harsher-than-average winter.

Rusty Walters, owner of Walters Precision Collision in Logansport, said the shop usually has about 60 vehicles awaiting repairs. On Thursday of last week, his list totaled to 117.

“We’re extremely busy, that’s for sure,” Walters said.

The shop’s 10 full-time employees are repairing about 30 cars a week, Walters added.

Walters said managing the excess is much like how the emergency room of a hospital operates, in that the most severe cases are handled first in order to ensure customers don’t have to spend too much on rental cars.

The less severely damaged vehicles can take up to a month to get to, he continued.

Walters said the hazardous road conditions leading to slide-offs and crashes that accompanied this winter’s record snowfalls is the reason behind the spike in business.

“Of course, when you slide off the road, you usually ruin your bumper and do about a thousand dollars worth of damage,” Walters said. Bigger wrecks can cost up to $15,000.

On Friday, he said he had 15 “severely wrecked” vehicles awaiting repair.

Since starting the business in 1977, Walters said he has never seen a winter bring in more repair jobs.

“The bad weather has increased business about 40 percent in the last two to three months that we’ve had the snows,” Walters said.

The environment is very similar at Jim’s Body Shop in Monticello.

Jim O’Neal, the shop’s owner, too said snow- and ice-covered streets are creating a substantial increase in business.

He said he and his staff are about a week and a half to two weeks out on repairs, adding many customers want their vehicles fixed as quickly as possible in anticipation of getting them washed in the upcoming warmer spring months.

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