Potholes are road hazards that spare no one from their destructive impact. We have all encountered them at some point, often with little time to react. Potholes lie in wait, concealing their dips, bumps, and sharp edges, ready to wreak havoc on your day. They can deliver a sudden jolt or even result in a blown tire. Unfortunately, potholes are not disappearing any time soon, and many of us have reluctantly sacrificed hubcaps to their treacherous depths over the years.
The process by which potholes form is quite simple. Roads undergo cycles of freezing and thawing, causing erosion beneath the pavement and weakening the asphalt. The constant traffic further contributes to road degradation, eventually leading to the creation of these craters.
Potholes can inflict various forms of damage on your vehicle, including:
- Punctured or damaged tires
- Wheel rim damage
- Premature wear on shocks and struts
- Suspension damage, potentially involving broken components
- Misalignment in the steering system
- Damage to the exhaust system
- Potential engine damage
To minimize pothole damage, it’s essential to stay vigilant while driving. Whenever possible, steer clear of them, or if circumstances allow, safely swerve around them. Maintaining adequate space between your vehicle and the one in front of you will provide better visibility and reaction time for spotting potholes.
Be especially cautious when encountering water-filled potholes, as their depth can be deceptive. Reduce your speed, especially on roads known for potholes, to minimize potential damage if you hit one.
In the unfortunate event of hitting a pothole, avoid slamming on the brakes. Braking abruptly shifts the vehicle’s weight forward, putting extra strain on the front suspension, typically the first part of the vehicle encountering a pothole.
After hitting a pothole, have your vehicle inspected promptly to prevent further damage. Minor issues can compound if left unchecked, potentially leading to more extensive repairs down the line. Look for signs like uneven tire wear, bulges, or visible tire damage, as these are often the most noticeable effects of pothole encounters. Additionally, be alert for vibrations or veering to the left or right, as these symptoms may indicate steering system damage or misalignment, requiring wheel inspection or balancing.
If you suspect a flat tire, don’t hesitate to pull over and inspect it. Based on the pothole’s size and impact, seek prompt vehicle inspection. Potholes may be sneaky, but they are far from harmless. If you’ve had a run-in with one, don’t hesitate to visit us for an assessment of any damage and swift resolution.