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What to do when snow and ice wreak havoc on your car

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Salt and fender benders are just part of the problem

Severe winter weather can wreak havoc on your car if you're not careful.

Accidents caused by the snow and ice have totaled some cars, but local mechanics explain what you should do to make sure the harsh conditions won't cost you down the line, even if you didn't have an accident.

Auto repair shops around the Triangle are busy taking care of cars damaged in accidents.

"We can expect from anywhere 30 to 40 cars over the three to four weeks," Mike Libb said, assistant shop manager at Johnson Collision Center in Durham.

Justin Cook is one of those people. He said he was able to drive his Mazda around town ok in icy conditions until he got home.

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"I was backing up, hit some ice, the front wheels started spinning a little bit on the ice, it caught and the car veered to the left a little bit, and the back bumper hit a retaining wall," Cook said.

But accidents aren't the only thing giving car techs new work - more than 2,100 people across North Carolina called AAA for help with a dead battery in the past two days alone, according to the automobile association.

"Yeah, cold weather it tends to bring out the worst in batteries," Jeremiah Hill said, a technician at Ingold Tire and Auto Service Center in Durham.

"But with all the road salt and everything, it's good to go through a car wash that sprays underneath it, because the break lines, your brake calipers and all that just love to rust up," Hill said. "And that will cost you thousands of dollars down the road."

He said you might not always be able to tell what damage driving on ice might have on your car, and that's why he said it's important to have it checked out after every winter storm.

"You might've heard a clunk or a bump running over some ice, and you didn't realize one those flashguards got ripped off, or one of the heat shields to the exhaust system," Hill said. "And you just won't even know until it's too late and you have another incident."

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