Potholes are a real danger to cars as well as to vehicle occupants. What you can do to avoid potholes and what to do when you hit one.
Up and down temperatures throughout the winter months, along with moisture and road salt, collectively take their toll on America’s highways and byways. The further north you go, the worse it seems when it comes to road maintenance.
Cracks, tears and potholes form quickly and are often not seen until you’re upon them. By that time your car’s suspension system is rattled as are you and your passengers, an unpleasant feeling with each thump, crack and grind.
If you’re fortunate, you’ll make it through the winter with only minor damage – perhaps with just one ruined tire or the need for a front wheel alignment. However, costly repairs are common as suspension components, brakes, the steering rack or other parts could become damaged, rendering your car undriveable.
The people at the Car Care Council offer some advice on how to steer clear of potholes. Let’s take a look at their timely advice:
• Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming-out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads. These are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals and hub units and tie rod ends.
• Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear. These symptoms mean there’s an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling.
• Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim. These problems will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road in all sorts of driving conditions.
“Every driver knows what it feels like to hit a pothole. What they don’t know is if their vehicle has been damaged in the process. If you’ve hit a pothole, it’s worth having a professional technician check out the car and make the necessary repairs to ensure safety and reliability,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
When winter ends, pothole problems do not end with it. It can take months, well into the hot summer months, for road repairs to be completed. Until then, you’d do well to keep your eyes peeled for potholes, steering clear whenever you can.
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