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Moline repair shop benefiting from drivers’ bad luck

“As long as they keep making cars, people will wreck them and we’ll get paid.”

MOLINE, Illinois-- As the Quad Cities waits for another round of snow, car repair shops in the area are seeing more business.

"I was only doing about two cars a week. Now I'm doing three or four," says Zachary Huff, an auto body technician at Sexton Ford.

He says he's had to replace everything from bumpers and hatches to headlights and tires.

"Like when they get to sliding and they'll hit something on the side, the whole side will be sideswiped or having to change two new doors," Huff says.

Across the shop, John Barnett is working on the front bumper of another car. He's been working at Sexton Ford for seven years.

"Some (winters) have been pretty good," he says. "This one's pretty bad. A lot of slipping and sliding."

The body shop manager, Cassio Eklof, says they see a lot of people knocking their bumpers off trying to drive over big snow banks. She also says the ice is worse this winter than in the past few years.

"Or they're hitting like light poles," Eklof says. "Spinning out of control. Guard rails."

She says business often slows down in the shop during the winter months. But weather-related repairs change that.

"It's been pretty crazy lately," Eklof says. "You'd think people would stay home more often. But they're not really. They're still getting out. so a lot of those accidents are happening."

Eklof says the biggest repair job this winter cost the customer $15,000. She says what doesn't look like more than a dent or scrape on the outside could be much worse.

"Often we tear down cars and find there's rails damaged or frames damaged that we don't see initially, and we have to scrap the car after that," she says.

Eklof says she has the usual advice for drivers during wintry weather: slow down, increase your following distance, or just stay home. She also says people sometimes feel they can drive through anything with four-wheel drive. That's not the case.

Four-wheel drive helps you get going on ice and snow but doesn't do anything to help you stop.

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