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Hoosiers could see higher prices this year for winter vehicle maintenance

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By Eric Levy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 23, 2014) -- Autumn just began, but this is the time of year to think about getting your car ready for winter before you run into trouble.

Auto repair shops are busy with people getting their pre-winter maintenance done, and Hoosiers are facing higher prices for some of the necessities, like tires. Prices for vehicle maintenance are up nearly two percent over last year, according to AAA. Prices for new tires are down three percent from last year, but still very high and not affordable for some.

"As of right now, I'm getting a used tire put on the back of it because it went flat today," said Chrissi Cole, as her car went on to a lift at Discount Tire on Michigan Road.

She bought a used tire, because the cost for new ones is really expensive. Cole had to buy two new ones not too long ago and it hit the wallet hard.

"I had the two front tires replaced, brand new tires," which she said cost her $300.

That's what a lot of Hoosiers are running in to as winter approaches, paying a lot to keep the car on the road and to be safe. Jory Bordner, assistant manager for Discount Tire says they're definitely getting in to their busy time of year. He says a lot of people are coming in to have their tires looked at.

"You want to make sure that the air pressure is correct, you want to make sure that you stay on top of that. You want to make sure that the tires are not too old, not over 10 years old," Bordner said.

Tread depth is important, and you can figure it out with a penny.

"Turn Lincoln on your penny upside down, and just put it in your groove. If you can see his hair, his hairline, that really means you need to get some new tires on there," he said.

Chrissi Cole is getting to the point of having to get new tires, again, so she's hoping to buy some time as well.

"Probably replace one at a time, and hopefully make it before it snows," Cole said.

As you prepare for winter, check to see if you are due for an oil change. Also make sure the coolant and antifreeze levels are where they need to be. Other simple and inexpensive tips include checking the windshield washer fluid and wiper blades.