Preventing car repairs as travel ramps up for holiday season, temps drop

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Many drivers are hitting the highways Wednesday and throughout the week, traveling out of town for Thanksgiving.

The holiday season is here, meaning the time between Thursday and Christmas and New Year’s many will be traveling by roads to visit loved ones and friends.

A local auto mechanic in Bloomington said the easiest thing to do is get the car inspected from front to back before hitting the roads to make sure there are no potential road bumps.

Bryan Saner, owner and lead mechanic at Zaabs Complete Auto Repair, said drivers should take preventative measures in order to avoid costly repairs.

“A lot of it is avoidable if you just take care of your vehicle,” Saner said. “Generally, it’s a lot cheaper to do preventative maintenance than it is to repair.”

Drivers are reminded to check their tire tread before the winter months when snow and ice can wreak havoc on the roads.

“The snow has to be able to grip the tire, just as the tire has to be able to grip the snow. If you have a slick surface on your tire it’s just going to slide around,” Saner said.

Generally, Illinois does not see heavy snow or ice in November, but the time is now to check tire pressure, as every 10 degree drop in temperature means a tire loses a pound.

“As the temperature drops, so does your pressure so it’s a lot easier to have a tire failure if the pressure is not proper,” Saner said.

Simon Holly, a Bloomington resident, said while he’s not making any travel plans for Thursday, he still makes sure his car is in top shape before the snowstorms appear.

“I’ve been there when my tires weren’t that great, and you don’t want to be in that position,” Holly said. “(You’re) slipping and sliding and don’t really have much control.”

Holly said he also keeps at least a 3/4ths tank of gas in his car before getting on the highway.

“You may be on the highway going back and forth someplace and all of a sudden, there’s a big accident ahead of you may have to sit there for a while and as cold as it is, you don’t want to freeze so it’s best to just have enough gas in your tank to make it,” Holly said.

Saner said his shop offers free inspections and can perform any type of repair or preventive maintenance.

According to Firestone and other mechanics, including Saner; an easy way to check a vehicle’s tire tread is by using a penny.

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