THE dismal state of Zimbabwe’s roads is costing motorists an average of US$1 000 a year on repairs due to damages caused by potholes prevalent on the roads, some which can easily be mistaken for craters, the Zimbabwe Independent has found out.
A snap survey by this paper this week showed that despite enduring economic hardships, Zimbabweans have to spend their hard-earned cash to repair and service their cars due to bad roads.
Mechanics are cashing in on motorists, whose cars often require attention after being damaged by bad roads.
A mechanic in Harare, Gift Zhuwawo, who works for a car repair company said business was quite good as motorists are being forced to repair their cars more often, spending between US$1 000 and US$1 500 a year.
“For instance, the lifespan of wheels is on average one and a half years. However, because of the potholes in some cases, motorists change wheels in about six months at a minimum cost of US$100 per wheel, depending on the type of car. Potholes cause the bending of wheel rims and damage of the entire wheel.”
A mechanic who works for another company in the city centre, Leon Sibanda said bad roads often damaged wheels, shocks, engine mountings and car suspensions.
The lifespan for the suspension and shocks is five years for most cars, but Zimbabwean motorists are replacing these in less than a year.
Zhuwawo said in suspensions ball joints or tie-rod ends are usually damaged. He also said the firm he works for used to offer three months warranty or before 5 000 kilometres, but has since stopped due to the frequency of damages to cars.
Zhuwawo said brand new cars are supposed to reach at least 10 000 to 15 000 km before replacement of any part, but often in Zimbabwe motorists change different car parts before the vehicles even reach 5 000 km.
The survey also showed that the number of mechanics who specialise in suspensions and wheel alignment is increasing in Harare’s Central Business District.