It's springtime and that means potholes are prevalent along New Jersey roadways.

From July 2016 until this month, the state Department of Transportation has repaired more than 143,500 potholes.

And over the past five years, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble said the state Department of Transportation says it has repaired about 220,000 potholes annually.

Noble says despite a mild winter, roads in the state were already in dire disrepair going into the season.

"When moisture and water seeps into those cracks and then when the temperatures start to warm up, those cracks simply expand and that's what causes those potholes."

But she says road crews are out in full force trying to mend those potholes.

However, if you hit a pothole in New Jersey before the DOT has a chance to fix it, it's going to cost you a pretty penny to repair your car. Noble says costs can range from $50 for a simple wheel or tire alignment to $500 or more for replacing high-end wheels and tires. Vehicle suspension and steering components may also be impacted to the tune of $2,500.

Nationwide, AAA estimates that people will pay $3 billion this year on car repairs due to pothole damage.

"Over the past several years, AAA has fielded over 50,000 calls in New Jersey in regard to tire repairs, " says Noble.

"We've noticed an uptick in tire-related calls in the spring and that's when the potholes are very prevalent," she says.

The state of New Jersey does pay out for some damage claims related to pot holes, but collecting the claim is not easy.

How to 'spare' your tires

— Inspect your tires and make sure they are in good working order and properly inflated.

— Keep a spare tire or a tire inflator kit in you car.

— Remain alert. Scan the road ahead and drive at least three seconds behind the vehicle ahead.

— Last but not least, don't tailgate. If a vehicle ahead of you hits a pothole, you have time to react if necessary.

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