ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – The sheer number and size of potholes in metro Detroit are keeping local tire shops swamped with customers.

Four or five years. That’s the last time Assistant Manager Pat Pocius at the Belle Tire in Royal Oak has seen this many cases of damaged tires and wheels. Pocius says there isn’t much drivers can do when a pothole is in front of them. Slowing down will only help so much.

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Pat Pocius with a damaged tire rim. (WWJ/Sandra McNeill)

Pat Pocius with a damaged tire rim. (WWJ/Sandra McNeill)

“They are still going to impact at some great force,” he said. “There is still a lot of force on the car, don’t forget the car is at least 3,400 pounds pushing down – onto the wheel and tire – as you are driving so when it hits the pothole – it just divits right in -like a golf divit.”

Some of the cases Pocius has seen include a rim with a chunk taken out of it by a crater on I-75 and a badly damaged wheel.

“We’ve been pretty busy all day long, taking care of customers cars … fixing tires, selling new tires, doing alignments for vehicles – doing service for them,” said Pocius.

“Good for us .. but bad in another sense because customers get upset with who do they talk to – to get their remedy resolved,” he said.

Asked if he’s seen tears … “Tears? Oh yeah, all the time; guys, girls everybody. It’s terrible.”

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Chantel Lewis says a giant crater on I-75 is responsible for taking a chunk out of the rim of her charger.

Chantel Lewis with her damaged tire. (WWJ/Sandra McNeill)

Chantel Lewis with her damaged tire. (WWJ/Sandra McNeill)

“I guess I didn’t see it,” she said. “Just like, boom, you could hear it crackin’ and I had to hold the steering wheel real hard because it was turning.”

Pamela Gatius stopped in to have her tire and rim replaced after hitting a pothole.

“I was getting off of (I)-75 and I just went over something really deep,” said Gatius.”Very frustrating … it was night and I was just looking at traffic.”

Gatius said she’s afraid of how much it was going to cost … as she has relatively new tires on her car already.

“These are new tires and a friend of mine just told me that when you have 4-wheel drive sometimes one tire (damaged) leads to having to replace all four (tires) so I’m kind of nervous.”

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I really might not drive a lot at night downtown for a while, until the weather gets better she said.