MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At Parents Autocare in south Minneapolis, winter can get a little redundant.
“A lot of no-starts. Batteries, alternators, that kind of stuff,” said co-owner Mike Burns.
But this winter has been anything but routine. And potholes are peaking early.
The problem is usually something you see in the springtime. But with extreme temperature swings this winter, they are a common sight in January.
“I think more often than not it’s just hitting it right. I don’t know if it’s how much force, how fast you’re going, but if you hit it just right you can do some damage,” Burns said.
The extra bumps in the road you may be seeing are yet another gift from Old Man Winter.
“The up and down of the temperatures have been just dramatic, especially this month,” said WCCO meteorologist Lauren Casey.
Casey has seen changes in weather create changes in our roadways. When water in cracks freeze and expand and then thaw again — potholes are born. A problem that has been accelerated with nearly 50-degree temperature swings.
“Earlier this month we went from a high temperature of 35 degrees, 48 hours later we had a high temperature of 12 below,” Casey said.
And with another cold snap on the way, the next thaw could make your car fair game and your pocketbook a little lighter.
“The main suspension piece, the shocker, the strut in the vehicle, if you get that bought as part of an assembly, for example, you are definitely looking at a thousand bucks per axel, front and rear,” Burns said.
Burns said the biggest problems caused by potholes are punctured tires and alignment issues.
Most cities make potholes a priority, but often the “hot patch” mix used to fix them permanently is not available during the winter.