It’s pothole season again – a time where Minnesota drivers do everything they can to avoid falling into one. Potholes are formed at the end of winter and beginning of spring when temperatures start to warm up followed by a freeze. The pressure of freezing water underneath pavement and the weight of cars driving over these areas form the perfect storm when it comes to potholes on the roadway. While we recommend avoiding them altogether, some of those pesky potholes are unavoidable, causing damage to your car. As you head into pothole season, we’ve got a few things you need to know to be ready to keep your car on the road this spring.

Check your tires immediately

It’s no secret that your tires are the most susceptible part of your car when it comes to damage caused by potholes. The most obvious sign that you have some damage to look over is a flat tire. Plan on changing that tire, but there may be some other damage to look for. If your tire isn’t flat, it’s best to also inspect for internal damage. Running over potholes can break the interior structure of your tire, or even tear the sidewall. Signs of internal damage include bulging and bubbles in your tire. Left unchecked, this can result in the headache of blowouts and waiting for a tow by the side of the road. So if you see any of these signs, it’s a good idea to have your mechanic check it over.

Inspect your wheels

While you’re down there looking at your tires, you might as well inspect your wheels. Wheels, like your tires, can take a direct hit when running into a pothole. Wheels can bend, crack or break from the impact, so be sure to check for any dents, bends, or cracks. Repair options are typically limited for wheels so you may be looking at replacing these if you notice damage.

Check your suspension & alignment

Your suspension and alignment is designed to give you a smooth ride no matter how rough the road. When you hit a pothole, parts like your suspension arm and tie rods can get damaged or knocked out of alignment. Look for signs like pulling to one side while driving, extra bouncing after hitting a bump, and even shaking when driving at high speeds. These are all signs that your suspension and alignment need to be looked at.

Take a look at your shock absorbers

Your shock absorbers can break on impact, especially those potholes in the road. Some effects of damaged shock absorbers include leaking oil and extra bouncing when you hit those bumps. If you notice either of these after hitting a pothole, be sure to ask your mechanic to take a look.

Watch for extra fluid leakage

Potholes can create damage to the interior of your car by denting things like your oil pan and other low lying parts. Once you’ve hit a pothole, make sure to watch for extra fluid leakage on your garage floor or in your driveway.

Listen for strange noises

Your exhaust system can take a beating from that run-in with a pothole. Your exhaust pipe can break loose or bend upon impact. Listen for any noises coming from the back of your car, and if you notice any, be sure to take your car in for an inspection.

You can navigate the roads and potholes this spring armed with this information. If you happen to fall into one while driving, simply make an appointment so we can inspect for any potential damage and get you taking those springtime drives in no time.