Tyre sales in the city are booming thanks to potholes.A selection of repair specialists reported being inundated with frustrated motorists whose tyres are being damaged beyond repair because of serious potholes and degraded roads. Tyre companies The Witness spoke to said they see daily cases of tyre sidewalls being popped and severe damage to wheelrims as a result of potholes and poor road conditions. They said that the problem becomes worse during rainy periods when bad roads become “disguised”.The Witness has run numerous reports on potholes in the city, and readers continue to complain of poor roads in most areas of Pietermaritzburg. There have also been reports of poor workmanship when repairs to potholes are undertaken, and several reports of repairs to fixtures like water pipes creating potholes because workers do not always re-tar what was dug up. The owner of Hi-Q Tyre N Tube, Dave Davie, said his company conducted repairs on tyres damaged by poor road conditions “at least once a day”. “When a wheel goes inside a pothole, the side-wall of the tyre gets pinched and often there is damage to the inside of the rim. “The tyre is often rendered unusable, and if someone drives over a pothole that was, say, on the left side, then there’s the chance both the front and back wheel go inside the pothole. So that can create a real problem if both tyres are damaged.”Davie said costs for repairs and new rims and tyres can run into thousands of rands. “Sometimes tyres can be repaired, but a new tyre, on average, is about R1 000 and buying a new rim from the manufacturer can cost as much as R3 000.”He said the situation became worse during rainy periods. “Potholes get disguised under water and the road looks consistent so people might drive over them.“Rainy seasons also cause more potholes because the rain degrades the road.”Tyremart manager Vimal Sewpersad said they repaired “one or two daily”.“Sometimes it requires serious replacement and some rims are badly damaged. Customers have to foot large bills depending on the size, but they end up paying a minimum of R1 000.”Hein Potgieter, manager of Super Tyres, said: “The damage on impact bubbles or cuts the side-wall of a tyre, and a customer has to replace the tyre and rim and fix their wheel alignment and there may also be impact on the car’s suspension components.” He said customers were paying anywhere between R600 and R4 000 on new tyres, plus between R200 and R280 on fixing the wheel alignment. “Suspension components vary from R1 000 to as high as R8 000 or R10 000 depending on the extent of the damage,” he said. Meanwhile, local lawyer Richard Stretch said the municipality could be liable for damage to vehicles because of poor road conditions. “The municipality put the road there and in doing so they undertake to maintain it and are therefore liable for it.”He said people in this situation can send Msunduzi a letter of demand containing details of the incident along with an invoice. If there was no reply, Msunduzi can be sent a summons. Msunduzi did not respond to a detailed query by The Witness.