ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Drivers on area roadways are noticing an uptick in broken bits of streets and surfaces.

Moisture in crevices has expanded and contracted due to freezing and thawing recently, which means repair shops are busy due to the return of pothole season.

Potholes are caused by a combination of Mother Nature and the daily pounding of the pavement by automobiles, and they can cause the most problems for many people.

“All day long, the phone calls, the tow trucks are backed up because people hit potholes and blow out their tires,” said Rob Terranova, the owner of West County Auto Body. “Some of them are simple repairs, and some are thousands when they keep driving with a blown out tire, and it scratches up the whole side of the car.”

Terranova said he is seeing customers with damage done by cracked and crumbling pavement around the St. Louis region, anything from realignments to reconstructive bodywork.

“Just an average alignment is around $100,” Terranova said. “The average tire is a couple hundred dollars, and usually the wheel on this thing, is $1,500 apiece.”

According to AAA, the average cost of an automobile repair due to pothole damage is around $600 or more. In 2021, drivers paid $26.5 billion in related vehicle repairs.

So, what do you do if you hit a pothole?

“Definitely, another thing people do, is they hit the brake when they hit a pothole, and that just rips up everything,” Terranova said. “You’re better off just to glide through it and let off the gas and let it go through and not hit the brakes. So that it doesn’t jolt the suspension as bad.”

He said he expects to keep busy as another round of cold weather moves back through to eventually create more potholes.