Warmer temperatures brings out one of the most problematic elements on the road, potholes. You might encounter dozens of potholes on your daily commute, and they can only be avoided for so long. You’re bound to hit one eventually, which can seriously damage your car. If you do hit one, make sure to bring it in so we can inspect it for you. Potholes are road imperfections that occur when soil compacted beneath pavement will get weaker or displaced. Roads are particularly likely to form potholes in winter and spring months, when ice and lots of running water disrupt the base layers under the pavement. As cars drive over these weak spots, the pavement deforms, cracks, and chips away, leaving a hole in the road surface. Potholes can start small, but get larger as traffic increases.
After you hit a pothole
If you drive through a pothole, check the vehicle over to make sure it did not cause a problem. If you hit a pothole, the tires are the first thing to look at. Damage could include sidewall bulges, tread separation, or a flat tire. These can happen because potholes often have a hard edge that compresses the tire against the wheel on impact, slicing the rubber or snapping the belts that hold a tire together. Cars with low-profile tires are particularly prone to pothole damage. Make sure the tires are inflated to the correct amount. This will help prevent several issues.
Hard angles in potholes apply impact force to wheels in ways they weren’t designed to handle, leading to bends, chips, or cracks. A bent wheel won’t roll smoothly and may not be able to form an airtight seal with a tire. Chips are usually easy to notice since they look like a chunk missing from the rim where it meets the tire.
The suspension is designed to absorb impacts and provide a smooth ride. But there’s a limit to how much it can handle. Sudden, jarring hits against potholes can cause issues. It causes a variety of suspension problems. This can include misalignment, broken ball joints, and damaged shocks or struts. If you notice unusual noises, bring the vehicle in. Also be aware how the vehicle handles.
Vehicle bottoms out
If you hit a deep pothole, it can cause your vehicle to bottom out. It will also scrape the undercarriage against the pavement. When it does this, you run the risk of exhaust damage. It could potentially dent or rip a hole in the exhaust pipes, muffler, or catalytic converter. If you do hit a pothole, bring the vehicle in. We can inspect it for you.