Between January 2020 and January 2021, Auto and General Insurance has noticed a spike of 47 per cent in tyre and rim claims, raising the question of whether poor road maintenance is to blame.

Steep claim increases were observed in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, and although claims have shown a steady increase for both men and women, a significant amount of claims were submitted by men aged between 31 and 37 who drive newer vehicles.

“This is a significant increase, and badly maintained roads are a serious concern.

“One bad patch of the road could lead to punctures, tyre bulges, bad wheel alignment and balancing, uneven tyre wear, cracked rims, damaged undercarriage and damaged tyre walls and blowouts, which could very well cost you your life,” said Ricardo Coetzee, head of Auto and General Insurance.

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Saied Solomons, president of the South African Road Federation (SARF), recently stated roads that are not timeously and properly maintained are costing South Africa millions, with costs soaring even higher when a lack of maintenance sees a road rapidly deteriorating to the point of requiring total road rehabilitation.

Other knock-on effects that add to the real cost of poorly maintained roads include frequent vehicle repairs, higher transportation costs, bottlenecks on busy routes and more.

Guidelines for navigating poorly maintained roads:

• Proactive maintenance: make sure your car is checked and serviced regularly. A vehicle that is 100 per cent ready to light up, steer around or meet challenging road surfaces are the best first line of defence.

• On spec: make sure the wheels and tyres you fit match the manufacturer’s specification and that tyres are properly inflated to create an adequate cushion between the vehicle’s rims and the road surface.

• Profile carefully: low-profile tyres may give a vehicle a sportier look, but reduce the space between the rim and the road surface. Fit tyres that are in the “Goldilocks zone” between being sporty, offering comfort and protecting against rough road surfaces. Ideally, opt for tyres with rim protectors.

• Emergency kit: make sure your vehicle is equipped with the basic wheel-changing tools and safety equipment.

This article was republished from Brakpan Herald with permission 

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