Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 21, 2014

Potholes pose problems for drivers


---- — GOSHEN — Beware of potholes.

No paved road is immune from potholes and they have seemed to pop up everywhere this winter. Extreme weather is to blame for the excess amount this season.

Drivers try to avoid hitting the holes but aren’t always successful. Some potholes are so deep, drivers end up damaging their vehicles.

“We have seen a bunch (vehicles) today (Friday). That’s all we did this morning was from people that hit potholes here in Goshen,” said Mike Wortinger, vice-president of Monteith Tire located on Lincolnway East in Goshen. “We’ve done 15 (vehicles), at least. We have seen more people come in than we have in a long time.”

The typical repairs include replacing damaged or ruined wheels and tires. The average price to replace wheels can run between $150 to $300 and tires can cost between $100 to $150, he added.

“It’s not a bad idea to do a wheel alignment, too. But you can go out and hit another pothole and undo it after having one,” Wortinger said. “There are so many potholes and they aren’t going away anytime soon. Some are so deep and often filled with water, it’s hard to see them and avoid them. They can ruin tires or even bend wheels beyond repair. The newer models of cars have lower profile tires and are not pothole friendly at all.”

He advises people to check the air in their spare tires and find out if they have a car jack and know how to use it in case of a flat tire.

“Get your tire and wheels taken care of,” Wortinger said.

His other bit of advice for drivers — leave some space between you and the car ahead of you on the road.

“I have noticed while driving that people who see a pothole can try to miss it but the person behind them may not see it,” Wortinger said. “Slow down a little bit, and give extra time to react. I have been hugging the center lane at some points to avoid potholes.”

Harvey Brow, service writer for Dave’s Auto Repair in Goshen, tells customers to not text and keep their eyes on the road to avoid potholes.

“Keep your eyes open and put your phone down,” Brow said. “I know. I personally hit one and bent both rims.”

He says the shop hasn’t seen many repairs that are related to pothole damage — yet.

“We could see a dramatic influx in the next couple weeks,” Brow said.

What should drivers do if they think they have damage after hitting a pothole?

“Pull over in a safe place to look. If a tire is leaking air, you can hear it,” Brow said. “If you can safely change a tire, do it or call Davto get it towed to our place or take it to a trusted mechanic to get it done right.”