WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – After a rough, long winter that saw a rise in potholes and the degrading of several Westchester County roads, motorists have come out and besieged local auto body shops and mechanics looking to repair the damage done to their vehicles.
The balmy late spring and summer months are a boon to body men and mechanics, when more traffic on roadways leads to an uptick in incidents and business. This is a stark contrast from winter, when many drivers choose to avoid icy roadways and the shops are quiet.
This winter was particularly rough on drivers and roads, as long, intense spells of inclement weather tore up roadways and forced many motorists to stay indoors, while others lived with minor damage as long as their vehicle would run.
John Walden, an employee at Mavis Discount Tire in Larchmont, said that the store has seen an increase in the number of damaged tires, something he attributes to poor roadways.
“I don’t think there’s any question that the number of potholes, and the size and depth of those potholes played a role,” he said. “Tires are prematurely wearing down, and there’s even been the slight damage to some rims.”
In New Rochelle, employees at the Gulf Station on North Avenue have seen a steady stream of cars coming their way for minor work that wasn’t necessary to complete in the winter.
“In the winter, people usually wait unless it’s real bad,” manager Sergio Diaz said. “Now we’re getting the squeaking brakes, the air conditioners, the smaller things people wait until it’s warm to do.”
Co-owner Harold Howell at Charlie’s Auto Body Shop in Scarsdale noted that with the summer driving season approaching, business is about to pick up.
“Things can get a little quiet during the winter, and we’ve definitely seen more work, but there’s usually a rush or two, sometimes around holidays,” he said. “There’s so many more people traveling and vacationing that it only makes sense there would be more accidents.”
Josephine Martin, a Mount Vernon resident who dropped her car off for work at BP in New Rochelle on Thursday afternoon, June 12, said that the inspection on her Volvo was a few months past its expiration, but she wanted to wait for warmer weather so she could peruse downtown while the work was being completed.
“If I went when it ran out (in February), I would have been left in the cold or forced to bring a second driver with me to stay warm, especially with the winter we just had,” she said. “Better to take the risk, wait for it to warm up and go from there.”