MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When winter turns to spring, roads turn into a potentially car-damaging labyrinth of potholes.

A new survey from the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America found that over the past five years, half of car owners in the U.S. say they’ve had damage done to their car because of a pothole.

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Here’s some tips to help you try to avoid getting socked with costly repairs.

  • Inspect your tires. Make sure they’re inflated, with enough tread.
  • Beware of puddles. You don’t know how big of a hole could be hidden under the water.
  • Slow down and look ahead. Before you move to avoid the pothole, be sure you can do it safely.
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Many car owners question exactly who is responsible for paying when you’ve hit a hole on a public street. The survey said, of the people who file a claim, over half pay out of pocket. Just 3 percent were able to get local authorities to pick up the tab.

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The survey also found pothole problems totaled $27 billion over the last five years. A majority of people said each repair cost them at least $500.