Fall brings vehicle challenges

Rob Burkett / Washburn Review

Between broke students, faculty that haven’t received raises in four years and staff that works for minimum wage, fall always brings challenges to those driving on a budget.

According to the AAA, the average cost of maintaining a car over an entire year breaks down to roughly $4.44 per mile. Much of that cost is accumulated during the summer months, but fall is when many experts say that drivers tend to spend their maintenance dollars.

“October is one of those months where people get themselves ready for the winter months,” said John Neilson, director of AAA Approved Auto Repair. “The last thing anyone wants is to get stuck on the side of the road when the weather turns bad.”

Neilson recommends that owners find a mechanic that they can trust and get in this month as many different auto repair businesses are running special deals in anticipation of the winter season.

“If you wait until something wrong happens with your vehicle its going to cost so much more than it would taking care of it now,” said Neilson. “This is true in two ways. First, its better to replace something before it damages other related parts on your car. Second, the prices that are out there for things like oil changes and battery replacements will be more expensive later on as well.”

In addition to the routine maintenance for a vehicle, Neilson also recommends that owners take a look at their tire tread, as well. According to Neilson, many accidents at the beginning of bad weather season are attributable to poor tread on tires that reduce traction and increase the dangers of hydroplaning and loss of control on slippery surfaces like snow and ice.

One of the other things that many are not aware of but that can cause undue stress to a vehicle is the loss of tire pressure as the temperature continues to drop outside.

“We recommend that everyone check their tire pressure,” said Rick Wilson, manager of Midas on Topeka Boulevard.  “People don’t realize that loss of tire pressure affects fuel mileage and can damage tire tread.”

Wilson also said that his shop has seen an increase in traffic as people start to realize that the cold season is on its way.

“Yes, we’ve seen a lot more people coming in or making appointments,” said Wilson. “Most people are coming in to get their belts and fluids checked right now.”

Currently Midas is offering a special on their oil and filter change. The service normally runs $44.99 and is currently on special at $24.99. In order to take advantage call ahead to set up a time to get your car looked at by dialing 235-3461.

“We hope that everyone will come down and take advantage of what we have to offer,” said Wilson. “Save yourself the headache of costly repairs and get in for some maintenance.”