APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Temperatures plummeted across northeast Wisconsin and much of the country, and that is causing an influx of calls for service at auto repair shops and tow truck companies.

“We’ve seen a lot of cars with dead batteries, and flat tires because people are running down their tires low and not putting air in them because they don’t want to get out,” the owner of A&W Towing and Repair Jason Lind said. “We’re probably five times as busy as we usually are. We have a waiting list right now, about five to ten people just waiting for someone to get out there and help them.”

At the desk, Alyssa Lind was dealing with phones ringing off the hook, non-stop. She said that there are simple steps car owners can take to ensure that

“Keep the tire pressure good in your tires, check your battery, make sure everything is up to par with that,” she said. “If your vehicle doesn’t start, don’t keep trying to crank it, just call us and we’ll be there to come get you. Just because it’s really hard on your vehicle otherwise.”

A&W is not the only shop in town dealing with a spike in calls – not by a long shot.

“This year since the snowstorm we’ve been pretty busy. Now we’re starting to get a lot of calls,” Unity Auto Repair owner Ninson Vue said. “We usually get super busy, we get a lot of cars towed in and get a lot of phone calls.”

At VL Auto, manager Nicholas Moericke stressed the importance of addressing concerns as car owners find out about them, like tire pressure and battery issues, so they do not build up.

“‘I got to get this, this, and this fixed’ Well you really just put off those maintenance and noises at that time,” he said.

“We’d rather have you drive your car in for maintenance than towed in on a wrecker,” technician Charlie Glavin said. “We’re going to tell you what’s going on with it before there is a major issue or repair that needs to be done.”

Over at Meineke Car Care Center, general manager Shane Vercauteren’s most frequent item on his to-do list was cars not starting.

“Probably 60% of my phone calls this morning were about cars not starting,” Vercauteren said. “The viscosity of all the fluids in the vehicle that need to be moved through it are that much thicker. The battery has to work that much harder, so if it’s able to turn it over in July, it might not be able to turn it over in January with the same power.”

Whether it is tires that need to be filled or batteries that need to be replaced, Vercauteren said that it is better to do it early and be safe rather than be sorry.

“You can do it preventatively or retroactively, and we had four today and that’s what we usually get in a week as far as batteries,” he said. “If it’s due to be replaced or it’s recommended to be replaced in the fall, do so before it’s zero and your car doesn’t start because it’s going to have to be replaced anyways.”


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