Tech Stuff

Best of times, worst of times


This winter has been brutal for northern and northeastern states, with record snowfall and record temperatures, and with abnormal icy conditions even in southern states such as Georgia.

In addition to the havoc wreaked by brutal blasts of arctic cold and relentless buildup of the white stuff, streets and highways are peppered with destructive potholes. The bad news for vehicle owners was delivered in terms of torn tires, bent rims, weak batteries, frozen fuel lines, snow-packed air ducts, etc., in addition to countless incidents of collision damage.

Amidst the severe temperature shifts, any windshield that had a previous chip likely snapped and cracked due to the combination of below-freezing temperature and mechanical stress. The combined heavy snowfalls, frigid temperatures alternating with brief warm-ups followed by sub-zero weather created hard-packed lumps of ice in driveways, parking lots and side streets.

Drivers who attempted to mush through such obstacles often found themselves impaled and stuck, requiring a push or a tow to release their vehicle from the grips of the ice monster. The results in many cases: dented or torn oil pans, damaged brake or fuel lines, torn CV shaft boots, overheated transmissions and in some cases even bent subframes and damaged suspension arms.

While these horror stories presented nightmares for drivers, the recent weather has created a boon for repair shops. Though we certainly don’t want to profit from the misfortunes of others, the recent weather attacks have generated substantial increases in repair work, which is good news for shops.

While this might present opportunities for unscrupulous shops to take advantage of such a windfall of work by charging a premium to handle emergency repairs, this winter season has served as a showcase for the integrity and empathy that reputable shops have displayed, especially for customers whose budgets have been stretched beyond the breaking point.

I know of many instances where shops have saved the day for stranded drivers by working late hours and providing price breaks for those in need. We should take pride in the fact that our industry is comprised of many good-hearted folks who go above and beyond when circumstances demand. Instead of profiteering and bleeding people dry, they step up to the plate and act as human beings should.   ●

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