AAA blames potholes for increase in flat tires

Ponca City Now - March 19, 2015 8:32 am

With the winter weather behind us, concerns over dead car batteries due to the bitter cold have melted away only to be replaced by a new worry for motorists: potholes.

AAA Oklahoma has seen a substantial increase in emergency roadside assistance rescues for tire-related issues. During the first 17 days of March this year, the auto club responded to 779 calls from members with flat tires in metropolitan Tulsa and Oklahoma City, compared with 554 calls over the first 17 days of March 2014 – almost a 41 percent increase.

Potholes form when water collects in small holes and cracks in the road’s surface. The moisture expands and contracts as temperatures rise and fall. This breaks up the pavement and when combined with the weight of passing cars and trucks, eventually results in a pothole.

But why are one winter’s potholes worse than another’s? It’s hard to say because there are so many variables to consider, including rapid temperature changes, amount and type of precipitation, traffic volumes and the age of the roadway.

"Potholes are serious business,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Hitting just one, if it’s bad enough, can alter the alignment of a wheel and cause real damage to your car. Broken shocks or struts can alter the way the car handles and tires may need to be replaced. Repairs should be made right away.”

Costs for fixing damage caused by potholes can range from $90 for a simple wheel alignment to $500 or more for replacing a top-of-the-line alloy wheel. If vehicle suspension and steering components have been harmed, repair costs can run as high as $2,500, Mai said.

While driving, reduce distractions and be aware of possible potholes, slow down and increase following distances to safely steer around them, Mai recommended. Check traffic flow ahead of you for clues of upcoming potholes. After driving over a pothole, check your tires for blisters or other problems.


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