Business tough for dealers and repair services - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Business tough for dealers and repair services

ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- A tough economy is making it tough for consumers to open their wallets. Car dealerships are trying to get more people to buy cars. But since many are staying away from buying big purchases, you might think car repair shops are seeing some green. But the truth is, that's not necessarily true.

In the beginning of the summer when gas prices were getting super high, you saw more people riding bikes and taking the bus. But even now with lower gas prices, with the economy tanking and more job instability, many don't want to pay for anything unless it's absolutely necessary.

New cars are sitting in car lots waiting to be sold, but tough times in the economy mean tough times for consumer luxury purchases. But, many would think car repairs are necessary.

"People say that, but it's not actually true," says Car-X assistant manager, Greg Blaser. "A lot of people aren't coming in here. And basically, you know, the part has to be falling off their car before they fix it."

Which means more cars may be on the road that need servicing. But even Blaser says, if he didn't have the knowledge of a mechanic, he wouldn't even get his car checked now.

"Money. Because they aren't sure of what's going to happen. You know, a lot people don't know if they're going to have their jobs tomorrow."

Job stability may be uncertain, but one thing Minnesotans know for sure is that old man winter waits for no one, nor any economy. If you're holding off on those major fixes, you should be aware that there are a few things every car owner should check before winter hits.

"Make sure the coolant's checked. There's certain temperatures that the coolant will actually freeze at if it starts breaking down. So that's a good one to take care of," answers Blaser.

A mechanic can also make sure your battery is fully charged, and your tires, breaks and serpentine belt are in good shape.

"If you can't get anywhere it's not going to do you much good either."

Blaser says not getting these basic maintenance checks do not make sense since. If you wait, you're only delaying a much larger and costlier problem.

So how much does it normally cost to get these things checked?

"It's actually free inspections for us," comments Blaser. "We'll inspect the car for free. And depending on what it is, there's definitely no charge at any point."

Maintenance checks are common in most car shops. Just call your regular mechanic to see whether he or she does free maintenance checks.

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