Warrnambool auto businesses are mending, replacing and binning tyres at an alarming rate, which they say is because of the region's crumbling roads.
Mechanics are being inundated with irate motorists whose tyres are all but ruined from hitting dangerous potholes and driving over rough surfaces
"The quality of the roads in the south-west are not good at all," Bridgestone Warrnambool owner Peter Baulch said.
"We see a lot of tyre damage, and we're seeing more and more rim damage.
"VicRoads won't do anything about it, they just say to put a bill in. If it exceeds $1400 then go through your insurance."
Tyreplus manager Jackson Bell said drivers were now coming in with tyre damage all year round, not just in the wet weather as expected.
"We are absolutely seeing more people coming in to get their tyres fixed," Mr Bell said.
Normally we see a spike around winter, but it's all year round at the moment with the roads the way they are.Jackson Bell, Tyreplus manager
"Normally we see a spike around winter, but it's all year round at the moment with the roads the way they are.
"It gets worse again when there's a bit of water on the roads and people don't see how bad the potholes are."
He said it was not just tyres that needed to be replaced, but entire rims, which is a costly exercise for drivers.
"If you hit a pothole it can knock out your wheel alignments and you could also be up for a new rim.
"Generally rims are pretty dear, one low-profile tyres the cost can be anywhere from $500 to $1000.
"Then there's the problem if you have an older car and have after-market rims. Sometimes you can't get the same rims anymore and have to replace all of them.
"It obviously depends on the scenario, but it's not cheap."
John McNeil said McNeil Bros Tyres was replacing one cracked rim a week.
We are getting at least one cracked rim a week due to a pothole or the condition of the roads.John McNeil, McNeil Bros Tyres
"We are getting at least one cracked rim a week due to a pothole or the condition of the roads," he said.
"People have been talking about Garvoc, there's a really bad section out through there. But collectively it's everywhere.
"It's a massive problem. If the roads were up to standard they would be fine."
It comes just after South West Coast MP Roma Britnell launched a roads-fix petition on the weekend.
Ms Britnell said she has been 'blown away' by the support received in just a week.
"I've been blown away by the support for the petition so far," she said.
"In just a few days, we had completed forms coming back into the office with hundreds of signatures. There has been a steady stream of people coming into the office to sign the petition and take a copy to collect signatures.
"It is in locations right across the region and I will be heading out around the electorate this week in an effort to collect more signatures
"I am confident with the reaction so far we are on track to send a very strong message I will table in State Parliament."
Timboon resident Julie Bateman has placed a number of petitions around town, including at Woolworths Warrnambool East where she works.
Ms Bateman is passionate about the issue, and hopes locals will support the petition.
I'm surprised there's not more fatalities.Julie Bateman, Timboon resident
"I'm getting right on board, I live in Timboon and drive into town most days and the roads are just not safe, and that's why I'm backing it," she said.
"I don't feel safe a lot of the time driving, which makes me wonder how people who don't live around here and know the roads are supposed to? I'm surprised there's not more fatalities.
"I think if Roma takes this petition to parliament with enough signatures it might make them wake up and realise that the people of the south-west aren't going to stand not getting our roads fixed.
"All we can do is try, if everyone gets behind it, the more change we have of overturning what they refused us."
Will Ferris, of Will Ferris Auto Repairs, is less optimistic. He said the south-west will never get a look-in, no matter what side of politics comes to power.
"The roads are buggered, and because we're not in Melbourne they're not going to get fixed," he said.
"I've seen rims bent that can only happen through the conditions of the roads.
"I'm 63 and I remember it happening all the through, we just don't get a look-in. It doesn't matter what party is in."
Adrian Slater is the manager of Warrnambool Truck and Bus Alignments, and said the roads are knocking out the alignments in larger vehicles.
"It wears everything harder when you're hitting potholes," he said.
The roads are getting worse across the whole of south-west Victoria.Adrian Slater, Warrnambool Truck and Bus Alignments
"The roads are getting worse across the whole of south-west Victoria, they used to be half reasonable but now they're full of potholes. They are shocking.
"The powers that be rip up one side of the road and not the other, they need to fix the whole lot properly and be done with it."
Ann from Garden Tyrepower said the issues lie with country roads across the board.
"It's the state of our country roads across the board that needs addressing," she said.
"People want to feel safe, we all do."
Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) is responsible for managing 4000 kilometres of arterial roads in the south-west.
RRV considers compensation on a case-by-case basis and an excess applies to all claims, RRVregional director (south-west) Emma Miller-Olsen said.
"We're working hard to maintain and build a better road network for communities and industries right across south western Victoria," she said.
"This year, we've completed significant road rebuilding work on key routes like Lavers Hill-Cobden Road, Penshurst-Dunkeld Road and Warrnambool-Caramut Road, as well as delivered upgrades along the Princes Highway and Green Triangle roads.
"We also regularly inspect the road network and identify where improvements are needed as part of our routine maintenance program."
The state government's $40 million upgrades to narrow roads in the south-west have so far seen works completed on Ayresford Road, Myamyn-Macarthur Road, Timboon-Nullawarre Road, Skipton Road, Foxhow Road, Inverleigh-Winchelsea Road, Inverleigh-Shelford Road, Casterton-Apsley Road, Coleraine-Edenhope Road and Warrnambool-Caramut Road.
Anyone wishing to claim for damages from RRV under the Road Management Act is required to complete a notice of incident form which can be found at www.vicroads.vic.gov.au.
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