ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — It’s that time of year again when snow, salt, ice, and plowing tear up Rockford city streets, and many drivers find themselves dodging potholes.
Potholes are mostly formed in the winter when the pavement gets wet, freezes, and then thaws.
According to Consumer Reports, over 3 million drivers nationwide experience pothole-related damage to their cars each year—everything from tires and rims to shocks and struts—costing over 3 billion dollars.
The Rockford Public Works Department works to repair potholes, and it actually encourages residents to report them by calling 779-348-7260 or filling out a service request form at www.rockfordil.gov.
In 2019, the Street Division reported patching 86,000 potholes.
On average, it takes crews between 48 and 72 hours to fill a pothole once a request is made.
But, if you hit one and have to replace a tire, or worse, a rim: can you file a claim with the city?
The answer is: yes.
You can file a claim to PMA Companies, the City’s Claims Processor, by calling 1-800-476-2669. More information is available here.
According to the City of Rockford website, a claim must be very specific: “At a bare minimum, PMA will require the street on which the damage occurred, driving direction, lane you were driving in and nearest cross streets. However, in most cases, this is not enough information to pay your claim. Whenever possible please include the nearest address, hundred block of the street or closest intersection to where your damage occurred… Photographs may also be provided. A photograph of the general area with a mark indicating the pothole is the most effective way to identify the pothole. Without this very specific information in regard to potholes and other roadway defects, your claim will be denied.”
The City says it can take up to 3 or 4 weeks for PMA Companies to process the claim, as it gets many during the winter and spring months when potholes are the most prevalent.
Boves Auto Repair, at 1118 Ferguson Street, has been around since 1963, and owner Tony Bove says not paying attention to the bumpy road can cause more damage than you think.
“Cars are lower to the ground, so you wreck the bodies, the fenders, the bumpers, that kind of stuff, when you hit potholes,” Bove said.
Wheel and tire damage is the most common, Bove said, adding that he fixes three cars a week on average, due to pothole damage.
Consumer Reports says that keeping your tires properly inflated and having adequate tread depth is important to preventing pothole damage.
“We tell everybody to slow down if you see a pothole,” Bove said. “Slow down. That’s the main thing. The slower you go over a pothole, the better.”
Bove acknowledged: “It’s hard when they are in the middle of the road and you don’t see it coming.”