It's as certain as death and taxes. After heavy rains, Oahu's roadways become pockmarked with potholes as water tears into the hot asphalt mix from earlier repairs.
At Lex Brodie's Tire, Brake and Service Co. on Queen Street, Vice President of Operations John Kelly is used to hearing from frustrated drivers whose cars have been damaged by unexpected jolts on city or state highways.
"People will impact the tire, and it's like a big, gigantic blister on the tire," said Kelly. "In a lot of cases, people have to get new rims."
Whether it's tire damage or steering alignments that get thrown out of whack, drivers who hit potholes may not have to pay for repairs on their own. Both the state and the city accept vehicle damage claims if it can be shown the financial loss was caused by the road, not the driver.
"We have told people in the past about (the claim process)," said Kelly. ""Usually, people are pretty thankful when you give them that information."
In the past three years, the state has paid more than $320,000 in vehicle damage claims, although amounts have steadily decreased. In 2009, claims totaled $126,518; in 2010, claims fell to $97,230. Last year, claims dropped once more to $86,937.
Drivers whose vehicles suffer pothole damage must complete a "claim for damage or injury" form with the state Department of Accounting and General Services within two years of the incident. The form can be downloaded by going to the State of Hawaii Forms Central website.
Drivers who incur damage to their vehicles are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible, including two estimates or repair bills.
"In the past, we've told people to just go back where the pothole was and take pictures of it," said Kelly.
According to records provided by DAGS, drivers can expect to wait several months before receiving a check from the state. One claim filed in December 2009 wasn't paid out until September of the following year.