Improved suspension and tire technology allows us to fit increasingly bigger wheels on our cars. The average wheel size in the 1960’s was 14-inches, but today, 19-inch wheels and bigger seem to be the standard, especially for Luxury and Sports cars. Couple an expensive, large alloy wheel with a low-profile tire, and you’ve got an expensive repair bill if you fall victim to one of the Northeast’s millions of potholes. But should the state have to pay that bill for you?
In the case of Michigan in 2009, the state only said “yes” once, to Julio Zacks. One guy, and a 1992 Camry (on factory 15s). The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Zacks is the only person to receive any financial reimbursement from the state of Michigan last year, and the amount reimbursed ($999.99) doesn’t even cover the whole repair cost. In fact, documents obtained by the Freep show that between 2005 and 2009, Michigan only paid out 18 claims, for a total of $7,700. Considering Michigan’s horrible road conditions and their 9,700 miles of pavement, We’d bet a bunch of people got screwed.
This author has personal experience in this area, as his 2006 MINI Cooper JCW came with factory 18-inch wheels (a $3,500 option), all four of which became bent over the next few years. Unfortunately (very unfortunately) the $500 “Wheel and Tire Warranty” was deemed to only apply if the wheel ceased to hold air – which they miraculously did not. By the time the fourth one bent, on a heavily trafficked area on I-95 South near the CT/NY border, it was time for action. In New York, like in Zach’s State of Michigan (and many other states), you have to prove that the state knew about the pothole, and didn’t repair it, for at least 30 days. A report was filed on the 28th day the State of NY fixed the pothole – leaving this distraught owner to shell out $557 for a replacement wheel and tire – for the fourth time.
Julio Zacks, we bow to you.
Source: [Detroit Free Press]