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Slow down to reduce impact from potholes

Automotive repair shops are already seeing the results of pothole season in Saskatoon. Here are some tips to avoid a costly repair. Eric Beck / Global News

SASKATOON – Its pothole season in Saskatoon, and automotive repair shops are already seeing the results.

“We’ve seen multiple people come in, damaged rims, damaged tie rods … lots of bad things happening to the vehicles,” said Jon Walker, store manager for Kal Tire on 8th Street.

Walker displayed one tire with a badly bent rim – the result, he says, of hitting a pothole at a fairly high rate of speed. He said hitting potholes too fast is one of the most common mistakes.

“The best thing is to slow right down,” he said, adding another common mistake is swerving at the last minute to avoid them.

“So you hit them on an angle, that can be very dangerous for your vehicle, setting yourself up for a lot of damage,” he said.

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Last year there were 488 claims filed against the City of Saskatoon, because of damage caused by potholes or sinkholes. And while final numbers for this year may take months to come in, it could be another significant year for claims.

READ MORE: When to make claims against the city for pothole damage

Walker said areas of cars that get damaged include rims, shocks, ball joints and tie rod ends. He said some bent rims can be repaired – but for larger bends, replacement may be the only option.

Another factor is tire pressure – he said having tires that are under or over inflated can contribute to damage.

And one modest component often overlooked are windshield wipers, which can be crucial when vehicles are getting splashed by spring runoff.

“If they’re not working properly, you can’t see.”

Overall, he said the best advice is to slow down – and if you do hit a pothole hard, get your vehicle checked for damage.

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