As Winter transitions into Spring, potholes become more of an irritation. Potholes occur when water seeps into pavement through unsealed or improperly sealed cracks. When the water freezes, it expands and enlarges the crack. When the ice under the pavement melts, a void is left. Surrounding pavement falls into the void and forms a pothole.
It isn’t possible to avoid all of the potholes encountered, unless you are very lucky. So take it slow and make sure your car is up to the challenge. Not only are potholes a nuisance, they can mean big problems for your vehicle with the following critical components:
Alignment – Even at low speeds, the effect of an uneven road can pull your wheels and tires out of alignment. Your tires need to hit the road at exactly the same angle for best performance. If they do not, your tires may wear unevenly, leaving you at risk for a flat tire and drastically reducing the life of your tires.
Wheels – A deep hole can do more immediate damage to your tires and wheels, tearing holes into the tire or bending the rim of your wheel. Having your car inspected right away after you hit a pothole will let you and our certified technicians catch these issues before they cause bigger problems.
Shocks – These keep equal pressure on your tires so you don’t bounce along the roads when you drive. But the sudden impact of a pothole can put enough pressure on the shocks and struts to damage them. Left unchecked, this can lead to more damage to the suspension (plus the risk of uneven tire wear and lower MPG).
Steering – Continued bouncing after hitting a bump is normal, but your vehicle should immediately return to smooth driving. The importance of the steering and suspension systems cannot be minimized as these systems help you remain in control of your vehicle at all times.
Pothole damage is like a snowball rolling down a hill… any one of these issues can lead to bigger problems, more damage, and expensive repairs. Poor alignment and suspension damage means it can be challenging to precisely steer and control your vehicle.
The biggest danger comes from damage that you may not see or notice right away. No pothole, regardless of how small it is or how slow you drive over it, is completely risk-free for your vehicle. Don’t ignore small issues and let them snowball into big problems. Schedule a thorough inspection with our ASE-Certified technicians if you have hit a pothole.