Auto shops say South Georgians lax in maintenance - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Auto shops say South Georgians lax in maintenance

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

October 13, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - South Georgia auto repair and maintenance shops say they are seeing the effect of the tight economy.  Their business is way off since the gas crisis began.

Shop owners say drivers are riding on bald tires and worn brakes because they don't have the money to fix them.

The owners say  not only is that dangerous, it could end up costing the car owner more in the long run.

Chris Basko says work at his Goodlife Tire shop in the last months is off between 10 to 20 percent.

Basko said "Business is down. Cars are coming in fewer and fewer."

Bill Thompson says his Tire Service is seeing eight percent fewer customers, and he says gas prices are to blame.

 Thompson said "But when the gas prices spiked it just hit a stone wall. It just stopped. The drop in traffic just ceased."

Even though new car sales are almost zero, South Georgia tire and maintenance shops say drivers are not bringing their old cars in to keep them rolling.

Basko said "We thought was people weren't buying the new cars would come in and have their cars serviced. But they don't appear to be how it is right now. People just aren't spending the money."

Now what they are seeing, worn out brakes and bald tires.

 Thompson said "They're running them till their about slick. We have to show them, and they are still hesitant about buying new tires. And we have a lot of people shopping for used tires, just to make it by."

The shop owners say putting off maintenance on your car until it doesn't work anymore will cost more in the long run to repair.

Thompson said "Usually it costs them twice as much if you wait too long, because you damage more of your parts."

And of course bad tires and brakes pose a danger on the road to everyone. But the auto maintenance shops say car owners tell them they just don't have the money.

Some auto shop owners say many of their customers are now working on their cars themselves to save money.

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