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Friday, December 23, 2005


Warning to South Floridians- Check your tires. Read this from the Miami Herald.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Is it Just me?, Basil's Blog, Bloggin Outloud, Third World County,

Drivers, when you have a minute, check your tires.

Of all the misery that Hurricane Wilma inflicted on South Florida, add one more item to the list -- flat tires.

Auto repair garages and tire stores across Broward say they're seeing a flood of frustrated customers coming in with punctured tires.

The culprit: those little flat-head nails used to tack on blue tarps to roofs damaged by the storm.
Some repairmen say they're seeing triple the number of flat tires in the past few weeks.

''We've gone from eight to 10 cars a day to 25 cars a day,'' said Tom Stenglein, of Davie's Ridge Plaza Tire and Auto Center, 9190 State Road 84. ''It's not just nails, but construction [materials] in general,'' he said.

He and co-workers have plugged more than 100 tires since Wilma, which normally cost $10 per tire. But, for now, they're patching tires free at the auto center.

For drivers with new tires, the problem is especially annoying.

Exactly how roofing nails became the menace of this holiday season is debatable.

Drivers might be rolling over the nails in their own driveway, but it's likely they're falling off construction trucks swarming around the county, most mechanics say.

''The truck drivers probably aren't noticing what's happening,'' said Lou Palermo, a store manager at a Tamarac Goodyear Tire Service Center.

It's not always obvious when a tire gets punctured. A roofing nail can cause a slow leak, which means vehicles will gradually lose tire pressure.

Without actually measuring the pressure -- or paying a professional to do it -- some drivers won't notice the problem until they're stranded on the side of the road.

Some newer cars have alarms that alert drivers to lost tire pressure and the tires seal themselves for a short while.

Auto clubs like AAA and others will tow cars with flats for free. And some dealerships offer free towing service if a car has been recently purchased.

''People are coming in for repairs and new tires early, before the holidays'' said Louie Castagliola, service manager of a Fort Lauderdale Goodyear center.

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