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It’s Pothole Season! Know What to Look Out For to Limit Car Damage

By Safelite // May 9, 2016

Spring weather finally seems to here to stay! But as the ice and snow melted away, it revealed something more than just beautiful flowers. The springtime brings every driver’s worst nightmare: potholes. It’s likely, too, that in your local areas, many of the potholes won’t be completely fixed until well into spring. And unfortunately, hitting a pothole can cause a myriad of problems to your car, starting with the tire and moving onto larger problems like front-end alignment.

Some of the car problems that can be caused by hitting a pothole include:

  • Tire damage: puncture, uneven wear and more
  • Wheel rim dents and damage
  • Undercarriage damage
  • Damaged or worn out shocks and struts
  • Suspension damage
  • Misalignment to tires and steering system
  • Damage to the exhaust system or engine

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While many of the potholes on the road won’t cause serious damage, some of the very deep ones can, and unfortunately, you might not realize it until it’s too late. If you do hit a deep pothole, chances are you’ll hear it and feel the jolt to the car. Once stopped, be sure to check all four tires for any possible damage or punctures and check the wheel rims for dents.

If there is significant damage to those areas, it’s likely that there may be more serious damage to other, less obvious parts of your car and it may be worthwhile to pay a visit to your mechanic. If you notice your car acting funny, making strange noises or pulling to one side, it’s definitely recommended to bring it into a mechanic. They’ll be able to do a full assessment, let you know if there are any problems and recommend fixes.

Avoiding Damage: Start with Avoiding Potholes

The easiest way to avoid this type of damage to your car is to avoid hitting potholes entirely. That may be easier said than done, though, since many potholes seem to appear out of nowhere, and it can be nearly impossible to determine how deep they may be. It’s also not recommended to suddenly swerve to miss a pothole, as you may get into an accident with another car.

Instead, follow safe driving practices like the following and you will run less of a risk of hitting a pothole:

  • Drive the speed limit – this allows you to safely avoid a pothole by not having to suddenly swerve. In inclement weather with limited visibility, you may want to go even slower so you can maintain a better view of the road.
  • Maintain a safe distance between cars – so you can easily see a pothole and other road hazards well in advance.
  • Keep your tires inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended tire air pressure – this can help limit the damage if you do hit a pothole.

Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry, so if you suspect your car may be damaged by a pothole, get it looked at as soon as possible.

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