Driving over potholes is not fun, regardless of your car’s make and model and how you travel over them they are always annoying. Avoiding potholes is sometimes tricky, but there are a lot of things you can do to limit the risk of car damage caused by potholes.
What Is a Pothole?
A pothole is a depression on the surface of a street or road. Normally it starts being a small crack in the pavement, but goes unaddressed for a long time. Also, a pothole can extend fast and become a few feet wide and many inches deep.
They are usually found in highways and city roads and streets and can make the road very bumpy and even dangerous. They can definitely cause damage to your tires and even your engine.
How Do Potholes Form in Roads?
These annoying holes on the ground form because of the water that enters the pavement through a small crack in the road. Normally, this water freezes during cold weather and causes it to grow. The pavement then grows as well, adding on to the bending and cracking of the road.
During this time, when that frozen water underneath the pavement turns back to liquid, the pavement shrinks. Then, these gaps get formed on the surface of the pavement, and water gets trapped in these gaps. This is when the growing and shrinking process happens all over again and again. The result: potholes.
The impact of cars and heavy trucks that go over these gaps in the road is a major contributor. The weight of these cars and trucks is pretty significant and it puts pressure on the ground. After a long time, the pavement will break down resulting in a pothole.
How to Safely Drive Over a Pothole
The damages caused by potholes in your car can be really bad, but you can diminish these damages if you know how to drive around potholes safely. Let’s take a look at 5 tips that can help you avoid horrible damage to your car.
1. Slow Down
If you can’t avoid driving over a pothole, lower your speed as much as you can. Slow down before you get to the pothole and don’t fully brake over it. This will increase the risk of damage.
2. Prepare for Impact
Hold a firm grip of the steering wheel in order to avoid losing control of your car as you drive over the pothole. If there are people riding with you in the car, warn them for the incoming impact.
3. Use Caution When Traveling Over Puddles
Sometimes, after some heavy rain, water can cover the pothole, making it impossible to see. Avoid driving to puddles and drive carefully over them, maneuvering around them if you can.
4. Keep Safe Distance Away from the Car in Front of You
The best way to spot a pothole is to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. This also reduces the risk of a collision or accident if the driver in front of you suddenly slams on the brakes or swerves to avoid a pothole.
5. Inflate Your Car’s Tires to the Proper Level
Under-inflated car tires are less likely to withstand the damage caused by a pothole. So, make sure to always have your tires fully inflated to the proper air level. Reading your owner’s manual might help to find out the correct PSI for your car’s tires. Remember to check the tire pressure once a month.
What to Do If Driving Over a Pothole Causes Car Damage
If you drive over a pothole and believe it damaged your car, make sure to pull over to a safe spot on the road if you can. Then, make sure you inspect your car for damage in the following areas:
There’s risk of a puncture in the tire’s sidewall. The tire will lose air and the TPMS light will likely turn on on your dashboard. Most likely, you will need to replace the tire.
Sometimes wheels can bend due to pothole. This means it won’t go smoothly on the road. If you see any visible damage on the wheel after driving over a pothole, you will most likely need to replace it.
Your suspension can also be damaged by driving over a pothole and even risking putting your vehicle out of alignment. If you notice your vehicle pulling to the right or left, get your vehicle’s alignment checked at an auto body repair shop.
If there are any strange noises coming out of your case, or stops running, you should call a tow truck to pick you car up. You can ask the tow truck company to give you a ride home or to a shop to have it fully inspected.
Try to steer clear from potholes if you can, as mentioned above, they tend to be problematic. If there is no way to avoid a pothole try everything to drive over it safely. You should try to lower the risk of damaging your car at any cost.
Pothole Damage Repair At Sudden Impact Auto
If you hit a pothole and notice these problems in your vehicle, go get it checked out, don’t wait. These damages could get worse over time. If you think a pothole has thrown off your car’s alignment, schedule an appointment at Sudden Impact Auto for a free car inspection. A pothole’s no match for our ASE-certified technicians!