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Mechanics say construction is bringing in more customers

David Volleberg, at Mason Tire on U. S. Highway 544, said construction is to blame for their busy business. And their shops in Conway and Surfside started collecting what they are removing from customer's tires. (Liz Cooper/WPDE)

We can all attest that there's road construction happening all along the Grand Strand. And, as the weather gets nicer, workers are getting more done.

But, it's not just construction workers who are busy. Mechanics say they are too.

"We're seeing a lot of patch jobs and people needing new tires," said David Volleberg, who works at Mason Tire on U. S. Highway 544. Volleberg said construction is to blame for their busy business.

Their shops in Conway and Surfside started collecting what they are removing from customer's tires. Volleberg said their shop in Surfside has a large bucket full of nails, screws and bolts.

"All because we have a lot of the construction zones," Volleberg explained.

Numerous customers stopped by the Conway shop on Thursday morning with flat tires or wanting to have their tires checked because their tire pressure light was on.

Volleberg said they'll sometimes just put air in the tires if the light is on and tell customers to monitor it. But, he said you could just be delaying the inevitable.

"If the tire pressure light comes on again, you definitely have an issue going on and I recommend going to shop and having them inspect your tires," he said.

As mechanics look for what's causing the leak in your tire, they can sometimes spot it as they pull it off the rim. But, they have another trick if they can't.

"(We) take soap and put it on a brush we got and it will start bubbling and you'll know where your hole's at," said one of the Mason Tire mechanics. They have a tube of water they can submerge a part of the tire in and rotate it around, so they can narrow down exactly where the debris may be.

One customer waited at Mason Tire for a couple of hours as she had her tires fixed Thursday morning.

"I had two flat tires actually," said Briana Mody. "It's an inconvenience."

Volleberg showed Mody the large nail they found jammed through the tread of her tire. He said, because of where it was located, they could do a patch job on the tire for around $22.50.

"If the nail or screw is in this area, then it's an easy fix," explained Volleberg, pointing to a picture of a tire in the lobby. "If it's on the sidewall, then you're going to need a new tire."

He said a new tire varies in price depending on the car, but tires can get costly.

He said at-home patch-it-yourself kits or speed plugs are great but stressed to drivers that they're only temporary fixes. Comparatively, "the stuff we use for patch jobs could be long term," he said.

If you do use the at-home fixes, Volleberg said it's imperative to let mechanics know that if you find yourself needing to bring in your tire later. He said, when tires are fixed with those remedies, they can explode when mechanics go to put them on their machines to check them.

Travis Patrick with SCDOT said contractors with the local construction projects are required to keep the roadways cleared of debris but admitted it's not always that easy, especially with small items like screw and nails.

Patrick also said not all of that debris found in people's tires is coming from road construction.

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