Auto body shops see uptick in business thanks to winter weather

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska State Patrol said it responded to 300 winter weather incidents over the weekend, and there's more snow in the forecast. While many in Lincoln say they're tired of it, auto body shop owners say they're ready for the extra business.

"I think we may be the only people that like snow and ice," said Marty Wenzl, owner of Wenzl's Collision Center. "It's been a hard winter, but a great winter for us."

Wenzl's shop is full of cars with fender damage from sliding on slick roads.

"Just today, we've seen twice as many cars as we normally do," Wenzl said.

After sliding on ice, Wenzl says even the slightest of damage could impact your wallet.

"A light fender bender could be a couple thousand to severe damage at $5,000 or $7,000," Wenzl said.

And after a crash, you may not be able to tell the full extent of the damage from looking at the car.

"A lot of times the initial damage causes other damage the normal person wouldn't think of," Wenzl said. "We have a car in the shop with a hood that looks fine, but it may get scrapped."

The age of your car will also determine repairs.

"It's all based on value of the car," Wenzl said. "Once the value of repair is higher than the actual value of the car, it makes more sense to scrap it."

If you do get into an accident, Wenzl said it's best to hold off on calling the auto body shop right away, and first call your insurance company.

"You should see what they want to do," Wenzl said. "Sometimes they want to look at it first and sometimes they can help get you into a shop. Just check with your insurance company first."

When they get this busy, Wenzl's says the shop takes appointments for repairs and right now they are booking people a week or two in advance.

"It usually takes between two to five days to repair a car, and it could take a few weeks," Wenzl said. "And when you're as backed up as we are, we just want to ask for patience."