Mechanics: Prevention Key to Auto Problems

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Don't let the blue skies fool you, more frigid winter weather is on the way, and that means heavy lifting for automobiles.

"It's obviously been a pretty hard winter," said Lisa Carey, who was bringing her car into the Valvoline Instant Oil Change on Cedar St. "That puts a lot of strain on the car."

Mason resident Johnny Green says it's a winter that's been rough on his van, which he drives to and from Detroit everyday for work.

"Rough on tires, rough on oil, rough on everything," he said. "I mean we've been through two sets of wiper blades this winter. It's been terrible."

But both are doing something right, mechanics say, by getting oil changes before another string of winter weather hits.

"Preventative maintenance is a large part," said JP Whermeyer, who manages nine Valvoline stores in the Lansing area. "We really need to stay focused on that on a day-to-day basis so our cars are running at optimal."

Whermeyer says business has been booming for his shop in this cold winter, but he hopes it can teach a lesson to his customers.

"[The cold] hits the cars hard, it hits the people hard and we weren't prepared for it," he said. "So it's a good learning experience and I hope everyone takes time to make sure their vehicles are running at their prime."

The maintenance to keep your car in tip-top shape is simple, Whermeyer said, and takes only 8-10 minutes to complete.

Low tire pressure can make it harder to handle icy roads; the right motor oil can give your engine an easier time; a clean engine filter maximizes efficiency; making sure your battery is strong and reliable helps you keep pace with the demands of defrosters, windshield wipers and other winter devices; and sharp windshield wipers keep visibility high when you're behind the wheel.

"If we look past the little things, obviously it's going to create a much larger-scale issues for us down the road," said Whermeyer. "So we really want to ensure that that doesn't happen."

The cost, Whermeyer says, is worth it, something Johnny Green says he agrees with.

"It's expensive, I mean this is going to cost me $75 today," he said, "but I guess a $30,000 truck it's probably worth $75 every couple months."

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