Friday, 06 March 2015 00:00

Collisions, Dead Batteries, Broken Mirrors in Beverly, MA Adding Up in All the Snow and Cold

The latest victim of this month's snow and cold: your car.

Several local body shops and garages say they're seeing an uptick in business thanks to the snow, as people's vehicles crunch into impenetrable snowbanks or slip and slide into each other.

"We got one here from Salem," said Tino Lopes, owner of Salem Collision in Peabody. "It got hit on North Street by a plow. It actually got the whole side cut."

The Toyota Camry, which was parked when the plow hit it on February 21, had a straight slice along the driver's side about the height of a plow blade. The plow that struck it was never located."It was a pretty good hit, and the girlfriend's car got hit at the same time," Lopes said.

He estimated some $6,000 worth of damage to the Camry.Lopes said business has picked up since the first blizzard struck the region at the end of January. On Friday, five cars were jammed into a workspace in the garage, all victims of the most recent weather.

"We've seen a lot -- people hitting snowbanks, spinouts. We actually got a guy that spun out on 128 that's coming in on Monday with a Tacoma truck," he said.

The front end of the pickup smashed into the guardrail.

"We are seeing a lot of bumpers, people pulling into snowbanks trying to park their cars. They back up, they crack the bumpers. I've seen a lot of scrapes, side scrapes. People pulling out of their driveways, the sides are getting scraped up against the snowbanks because it's so tight.

"At Salem Auto Body in Salem, manager Scott Lupo is seeing the same things -- bumpers damaged in collisions with snowbanks, cars skidding into each other especially during periods of poor visibility in the storms."It's all due to the weather, ice, snow," Lupo said.

Bill Dambrosio, the owner of Danvers Auto Body, said he hasn't seen an uptick yet -- "nothing out of the ordinary" -- but expects he will once customers get done filing claims with their insurance companies.

Broken mirrors, dead batteries

Chris Crowley, who has owned Meineke Car Care Center in Beverly for 25 years, said customers are having their cars towed in with dead batteries, or having to replace plastic shields torn off their vehicles.

One phenomenon customers have complained about after digging their cars out is their cars start shaking violently when traveling down the highway. That happens when snow becomes packed in the wheels, which throws off the car's balance.

With the streets so crowded, and with so many customers coming to him all at once, Crowley said he finds he has no place to put all the vehicles coming in for service.

Crowley, who gets to work every day by driving down Lafayette Street in Salem, has also noticed another consequence of the street being narrowed by massive snowbanks.

"The many, many cars whose driver's side mirrors are broken and falling off," he said.

He's also seen a couple of tires damaged by potholes, something that Crowley says his service center will see more of as the winter wears on.

Business usually slows when it's actually snowing.

"It's the after-effect that causes the big problems," said Lopez. "With the roads getting tighter, people trying to park in spaces that, really, are not there anymore. They are parking in the middle of the road, you have got these big trucks going by -- it's where we get sideswipes and stuff like that."

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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