While Barbadian motorists are feeling the pinch as a result of damage to their vehicles caused by potholes, mechanics and tyre repairmen are raking in the dough.
By all accounts, they have been having a hard time keeping up with demands to repair myriad suspension and tyre issues.
While quick to express sympathy with Barbadian road users, several mechanics told Barbados TODAY they had been kept busy replacing shock absorbers, shock mounts, bushings and even engine mounts.
“These days the majority of people that come to me start to explain their problem by telling me about the pothole they fell in. Right now suspension issues are the number one thing at my shop and they could be very expensive because they involve a lot,” Haynesville, St James-based mechanic Nigel Lynch said.
The 25-year veteran, who charges as much $150 to change a single shock absorber, said although he had not been able to collect payment in full for all of his services, suspension issues had boosted his business by almost 50 per cent in the last eight months.
“A lot of times people can’t pay me the same time because things hard for everybody. Just last week I changed all four shocks on a guy’s jeep. The same night he fall into a hole [and] the shocks burst through the front shock mounts. So it was difficult to pressure him to pay to replace the mounts after spending $1,500 the day before in parts, labour and wrecker [wrecking service]. But even with the money I don’t collect, we still doing good business,” Lynch added.
Meanwhile auto parts store owner Angelo Pipawala said he has been unable to keep up with the demand for suspension parts.
While reluctant to give figures, he told Barbados TODAY he “could not complain about sales”.
Another auto parts storeowner, who did not want to be identified, said “2016 was the first year in my 15 years of running this store that I have had to order suspension parts almost every week.
“I feel sorry for the vehicle owners who are suffering but the reality is that one man’s poison is another man’s medicine and things would be worse if we weren’t here to keep up with demand.” he stressed.
Tyre repairmen are also cashing in on potholes business, with a rise in used tyre sales.
“A lot of times when people drop down in these craters on the road it is difficult to patch them and a lot of people just want to get back on the road and they don’t have the money for new tyres so they would buy the used ones. As a matter of fact, because the roads are bad some people taking off their expensive rims with new tyres and put on their original rims with used tyres because they can’t afford to crack their expensive rims and burst their expensive low profile tyres,” explained Marcus Knight, who operates a tyre shop at Hothersal Truning.