Closings and delays

Car shops in the Triad see increased business ahead of holiday travel

When was the last time you got your oil changed? Your tires rotated? Your brakes checked?

If you're one of the 1.3 million North Carolinians about to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday, car shops in the Triad say you should start thinking about getting your cars serviced now.

Shops like Porter's Automotive and Tires in High Point expect Wednesday to be packed. Every year they see drivers wait until the last minute to get their car checked before a big road trip.

But don't let that stop you from visiting a shop. Experts say driving a car that isn't road-ready is a risk that's too dangerous to take.

"We're prepared for the influx of cars," said Vicki Deaton, the manager of Porter's.

Porter's is filling up fast with cars and trucks ready to drive to loved ones this Thanksgiving.

“Always a couple days before, especially the day before, people realize, 'Oh gee, I’m going to be traveling two, three hours,'" Deaton said.

"I knew they’d be busy, especially tomorrow, everybody waiting until the last minute," Scott Griffin said.

Drivers like Griffin want to make sure their wheels and engines are can withstand his Thanksgiving trip to Myrtle Beach.

“Oil change, that’s important," he said. "But tires especially. I mean, you don’t know if you have a bad place in the tire. You could have a nail in there. Going down the road at 65, 70 mph, your tire blows and you’re going to lose control of your car, hurting yourself or someone else.”

Those types of crashes happen every year. In 2016, 17 people died on North Carolina highways over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

One of the deadliest highways in the country runs right through North Carolina. Interstate 85 made the number-15 spot on this year's list of 25 deadliest highways, put together by the GPS tracking company Teletrac Navman.

Deaton says she's seen the results of accidents first-hand that could have been avoided with some preventative maintenance.

“Always check all the fluids, check the hoses, check the belts," she said. "Makes sure all the filters are in good shape, make sure the tires are in good shape, road worthy. And also, check brakes.”

Bringing your car in may be a hassle, but Deaton says it should be a priority that could save a life.

If you still need to get your car serviced before you hit the road, check with your local shop to see if they take appointments.

Most places accept walk-ins, just be prepared for a long wait on Wednesday.