Located in the heart of town, Minden Auto Care has been a staple in the community for decades. Owners Dennis and Lori Pennie are no strangers to the auto care industry, having owned their own shop, Alcona Car Care, for more than 10 years as well as European Tech Automotive in Barrie.

Dennis apprenticed under previous owner, Dave Howell, before taking over the business a few years ago.

“Having worked under Dave as an apprentice, he was thinking of selling it and approached me to see if I was interested,” Dennis said. Howell sold the business to Pennie and his wife about three years ago.

Dennis is the lead mechanic while Lori shares reception duty. “Usually, around the beginning of April, is when we start getting the calls for changing tires over,” said Lori. “While we have the tires off, the mechanic checks the brakes and has an overall look.”

Before any of that happens, though, the mechanic takes the car for a test drive. “They listen for any unusual sounds, and get a feel for the general wellness of the vehicle,” Lori explained.

Obviously, this time of year the business of changing tires from winter to summer is what is foremost in everyone’s mind, and usually, an oil change accompanies the tire change, along with a few other things.

“We check the brakes as well as the rest of the front end to make sure everything that needs to be tight, is tight,” said Lori. “Winter driving and potholes take their toll.” They also check fluid levels and filters as part of the general going over.

A few tips that customers can keep in mind as the warmer weather comes, other than changing tires, include giving the car a good clean inside and out. Salt build-up on and under the car can cause rust and other damage to the body and the undercarriage. While in clean-up mode, make sure to wash the winter tires before storing them. This will help prevent corrosion from the winter road salt.

Tires aren’t the only thing that should be changed, windshield wipers can also get damaged during the winter months from the snow and ice. Spring is a good time to change them if they haven’t been in the past year.

Checking your lights is also a good thing to include on the list. Even though the days are getting longer and brighter, it is still important to be visible to other drivers on the road. Headlights, low and high beams, back lights, brake lights, running lights, signal lights, and don’t forget the license plate light.

So, a bit of spit and polish and a visit to the local shop will get your favorite ride ready for those long, snow-free roads ahead.