Ice Chunk-packed Roads Beating Up Iowa Cars

A police vehicle drives down the mostly cleared Mt. Vernon road in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Kyle Grillot)


By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa - The day after the big snow storm the rush began.

"It was crazy," automotive technician Elmer Dominguez said. "You couldn't even get into the parking lot."

Dominguez's coworkers at Earl's Tire and Service Center have been booked solid putting new tires on vehicles for winter driving.

Dominguez specializes in suspension. The front office says he's so good at it he's usually booked one to two weeks out. Now, he's getting even busier.

Dominguez says the ice chunks and uneven snowpacked roads are tough on your vehicle's suspension.

Best case, the rough roads throw your car out of alignment and that causes your tires to wear unevenly. You might have to replace them much sooner.

Worst case, if you already had an undiagnosed problem with your suspension, the rough roads can cause immediate problems that can lead to you losing control of your vehicle.

"You could end up killing yourself or someone else," Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the best thing you can do is get your alignment checked once a year. Sooner if you suspect there's a problem.

"I know people don't want to hear that," Dominguez said. "But I do diagnostics for free. A lot of shops do."

Signs you may have suspension problems include uneven tire wear and unusual noises coming from your vehicle.

In the meantime, he said its better for you vehicle's suspension if you take it slow on rough roads.

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