Poor road conditions cost Canadian drivers $3 billion annually, CAA study finds
TORONTO -- A new study by Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) finds drivers are paying $3 billion annually in higher vehicle operating costs due to poor roads, infrastructure and potholes.
Experts say the blame is Canadian weather as one day it's sunny and mild and the next day it's below freezing – the perfect ingredients to make potholes.
The city of Toronto has a budget of 4.7 million dollars for 2021 to refill potholes and has already refilled almost 50,000 potholes this year. Each one costs about $25 to repair.
However, CAA said the cost to drivers is even more as the study found each vehicle owner has $126 dollars in added costs each year due to the poor quality of roads which costs Canadians $3 billion annually.
Raymond Chan with CAA south central Ontario government relations said that drivers have to deal with "anything from bent rims, to blown out tires, to undercarriage damage to broken control arms on your vehicle."
When you hit a pothole at highway speed, you could have to pay for a control arm replacement at a cost of $400, a lower ball joint $375, a wheel alignment $150 and if you have to replace your tire or rim it could be up to $600.
To try and avoid pothole damage, drive the speed limit and look down the road for pot holes, but never swerve out of your lane to avoid one.
If you hit a pothole, pull over when it's safe to do so and inspect the tire and rim and look for any cuts, blisters or bubbles. If you see damage, replace the tire right away as driving on it could lead to a dangerous situation like a blowout.
According to Consumer Reports tire expert, Ryan Pszczolkowski, said there is a new trend that could be causing more pothole damage.
“While low profile tires can give you some performance gain in steering fields and cornering grip, they are more prone to pothole damage,” said Pszczolkowski.
In a demonstration, a 16-inch tire's taller sidewall going through a deep pothole offered a greater margin of clearance between the road and wheel and less severe sidewall flex than a lower profile 18-inch tire.
CAA said if you feel you have received pothole damage from an improperly maintained road you might be able to seek reimbursement for repairs.
“If a motorist feels that a municipality has been negligent in anyway and that they haven’t done their due diligence in doing those (road) inspections then certainly they have the right to submit a claim to the municipality,” Chan said.
To submit a claim, take photos of the pothole, the damage and make note of the time of day, exact location and weather conditions.
Always make sure your tires are properly inflated and when buying new ones consider a set that comes with taller side walls. You can also ask if there is a tire road hazard warranty which some shops might include for free.