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Winter storms keeps auto body repair shop busy

Posted at 9:58 PM, Feb 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 23:58:55-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — It’s not unusual for West Valley Collision Repair to be busy, owner Bryan Ellison said. When winter hits, though, things usually get busier. This week serves as an example. On Monday, Utah Highway Patrol reported responding to more than 300 crashes statewide. On Thursday morning alone, UHP reported responding to more than 150 crashes.

Those are just some of the people that may need work done to their cars after the storms, Ellison said.

“That’s just reported accidents, not accidents where things just happened and they didn’t call the police, or police just tell you, hey we are not going to make it,” he said.

This week, Ellison said the number of calls they’ve received has doubled, and they towed about four times more cars to their shop than they normally do.

“I know tonight, or on those snowstorm days my phone doesn’t stop all night long,” Ellison said.

This isn’t a surprise though, he said, as they usually do about 25 percent more business in the wintertime compared to the rest of the year.

“I guess there is no way to prepare, we just schedule and do things the best we can,” he said.

Most of the damages done during storms like this are from slide-offs, Ellison said.

“Most of the time accidents in the wintertime are just minor, small impacts of this nature,” he said.

In the summertime people are driving faster, Ellison said, so they see more costly repairs and cars being totaled. In the wintertime, the average bill for a car in the shop is close to $3,000 compared to around $5,000 in the warmer months.

There were several cars being fixed Thursday afternoon, including one being dropped off by West Valley resident Tracey Peterson, who hit black ice this week.

“I’ve always felt comfortable in the snow, that’s where this storm was crazy. It was just so slippery and icy everywhere. All that experience didn’t count for much,” he said.

This was the worst storm in three years, Peterson said.

“Even with no other cars on the road, it was just fishtailing all the way. A four-hour drive from Logan to Salt Lake,” he said.

The shop is just starting to see the cars come in from this week’s storms.

“We haven’t even seen the big impact from Monday, probably [won’t] until Monday, Tuesday [of next week],” Ellison said.