WESTERN NEW YORK – There are sure signs of spring: robins, geese flying north and potholes big enough to swallow your car.
YourMechanic.com reports that most drivers who hit the road hazards experience five main issues with their cars, starting with the tires.
Tires are meant to be the only part of your car that touches the road, so it isn’t a surprise that they’re susceptible to pothole damage like sidewall bulges, tread separation, or flats.
Scraping your rims never looks good, but even the worst curb rash can’t damage a wheel like a pothole can. Hard angles in potholes apply impact force to wheels in ways they weren’t designed to handle, leading to bends, chips, or cracks.
Car suspensions are designed to absorb impacts and provide a smooth ride, but YourMachanic.com explains there’s a limit to how much it can handle. Sudden, jarring hits against potholes can cause a variety of suspension problems, including misalignment, broken ball joints, and damaged shocks or struts.
Since exhaust pipes run along the undercarriage of a car, they’re a perfect target for potholes lurking in the road as well.
Finally YourMachanic.com explained that the lower a car is to the ground, the better it handles, but cars that sacrifice ride height in pursuit of sportiness are more likely to be damaged by potholes.
Those who face some of the costly repairs listed above might want to file a claim against the New York State Department of Transportation, just know it could take several weeks to hear back.
DOT officials say drivers who want to be reimbursed for repairs made after an encounter with a pothole should do it sooner than later. If the damage happened to your car more than three months ago, you’re out of luck.
“For timely filing, the Court of Claims Act mandates a maximum of 90 days between the date of loss and the filing of a Notice of Claim,” the DOT states on their website.
To start a claim, drivers have to complete the small claim form (DC30-2) found on the DOT’s site make sure that you fill it out completely. If the form isn’t completely filled out, your submission will be instantly be rejected.
Be sure to indicate where the incident happened and be sure to send the form to the correct office. If the damage occurred in Chautauqua County then send your form to the DOT Buffalo Office.
Officials say it could take up to eight weeks to hear back about possible refunds. If the state believes that they’re not in the wrong, you won’t receive payment but you will receive a letter explaining why they didn’t find in your favor.