Pothole season poses a bumpy ride

By: Eric Czarnik, | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 12, 2017

METRO DETROIT — People in charge of auto and road repairs expect a bumpier ride this time of year as sections of metro Detroit’s roads crumble due to newly formed potholes.

The seasonal freeze and thaw cycle is commonly blamed for the spread of potholes in late winter and early spring. The resulting pits may damage vehicles’ suspension systems, tires and more.

Ali Charara, general manager at Redford Auto Repair, said potholes are unavoidable, and he has already seen a sizable number of incidents lately of people coming in with pothole-related vehicle problems. He explained that those problems can affect struts, ball joints, tie rods, tires, tire rims and alignment.

Depending on the issue, these problems may become apparent to the driver in a number of ways.

“The steering wheel starts to shake. You might have flats,” Charara explained.  “Some little bubbles start to show on the side of the tire.”

According to Road Commission for Oakland County spokesman Craig Bryson, pothole patching is one of the commission’s main springtime activities, and workers are out doing that almost every single day in their districts of responsibility. 

“They know where the problem areas are — the roads that are in poor condition,” he said. “We go back to certain roads regularly. We do also look at the calls and emails that come in and respond to those as needed.”

Bryson said the pothole situation on Michigan’s roads will eventually begin to get better, but it won’t be completed anytime soon.

“We are doing more resurfacing this year than we have done in a long time,” he said. “It’s going to be a long, slow process to get the road system back in shape. It has deteriorated pretty substantially over the last couple of decades.” 

Bryson said that even though potholes may damage vehicles, swerving out of the lane to avoid one could be even more dangerous and could put others at risk. He recommended slowing down when it’s evident that the road is rough.

“We understand it’s particularly difficult (to see potholes), especially at night or if it’s wet out,” he said. “The best thing you can do is slow down or use caution.”

For more information about Redford Auto Repair, visit www.redfordautorepair.com or call (313) 537-5544. Find out more about the Road Commission for Oakland County by visiting www.rcocweb.org. Click on the site’s Contact Us link to report potholes in Oakland County, or call (877) 858-4804. To report potholes in Macomb County, call (586) 463-8671 or visit www.macombgov.org/roads.