Check for tires cracks, suspension problems and body damage if you drive your car over a pothole.
One of the most problematic factors on the roads is the potholes. You might encounter dozens of potholes on your daily commute. Needless to say, it is very hard to avoid all of them. You will hit one of them eventually, which can seriously damage your car. In this article, we will provide some useful tips for you to alleviate the potential problems with potholes on your car.
Potholes are deep dents that form when the soil beneath the road or pavement becomes weakened or displaced. Potholes are most likely to appear on the roads during the winter or spring months when ice and other running water disrupt with the underlying layers of the pavement.
When cars pass over these weak spots, the pavement will gradually deform, crack and chip away, forming holes in the road surface. Initially, these potholes are small, but will eventually become bigger and bigger when the traffic hits them. At some point, they are likely to become deep and large enough to damage a car.
Potholes are deep dents that form when the soil beneath the road or pavement becomes weakened or displaced
Potholes are notorious for destroying cars. According to the statistics, American drivers have to pay a total of nearly $3 billion, or an average of $300 a year to repair car damages caused by potholes. Many drivers frequently encounter pothole problems in every winter and spring, making it necessary to have the annual pothole-related repairs. In the Philippines, the developing infrastructure and difficult road conditions make this situation even worse for drivers.
Here are the car parts you should check if you hit a pothole:
Tires are the only part of your car that contacts with the road surface, so it is not a surprise that they are most prone to pothole damage like sidewall bubbles, tread separation, or flats. This might happen because potholes usually have a very sharp edge that compresses the tire against the wheel on hitting, slicing the rubber or snapping the tire belts that hold the tire together.
Driving on a deflated tire is certainly not safe, and you can choose when to repair it. However, the tire with sidewall bubbles or tread separation should be replaced right away.
Cars with low tire pressure are particularly prone to pothole damage when they hit a pothole. According to car care and maintenance experts, make sure your tires are always properly inflated to avoid these problems.
Cars with low tire pressure are particularly prone to pothole damage when they hit a pothole
The second car part you should check for possible pothole-related damage are the metal wheels. The hard edges of potholes will impact with the wheel, leading to bends, chips, or cracks. It is hard to recognize a bent wheel until the point that your car will not run as smoothly as before.
Chips are usually easy to notice while small cracks are often difficult to detect. Therefore, it is advisable that you always keep the wheels clean and make sure they are thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic. You can repair the bent wheels if it's your lucky day, but you might have to entirely replace chipped or cracked wheels to avoid the risk of accidents.
The second car part you should check for possible pothole-related damage are the metal wheels
The third part in your car most prone to pothole damage is the suspension system. The car suspension is designed to absorb impacts and ensure a smooth ride. However, this system certainly has its own limit. Sudden hit against potholes might cause many suspension problems, including misalignment, broken ball joints and shocks or struts.
When there is a suspension misalignment, it is likely that it can be repaired. However, before it is fixed, you can notice several symptoms such as that your steering wheel is off center, your car is pulled in one direction, the handling is loose and the tires wear unevenly.
What damage can pothole impact do?
Unusual vibrations and sounds, wandering steering wheel, abnormally poor ride quality or the car leaning to one side might all indicate broken ball joints and struts that need to be replaced entirely. Generally speaking, the suspension damage is often difficult to detect. Therefore, it is best to have an experienced mechanic inspect the entire system if you notice any of these symptoms.
Since exhaust pipes run along the car undercarriage, they are a perfect target for potholes on the road. Deep potholes can break the undercarriage, causing cracks or holes in the exhaust pipes, muffler, or catalytic converter.
You might suffer a loss of power or annoying noises if there is a hole in your exhaust system, perhaps even worse is the fact that this is seriously harmful to the environment. In addition, a leaky exhaust pipe can let exhaust fumes into the cabin, posing a serious health hazard.
Since exhaust pipes run along the car undercarriage, they are a perfect target for potholes on the road
In general, the lower the car is to the ground, the easier it is to handle, but on the downside, it is more likely to be damaged by potholes. In addition, the potholes may scrap against low-hanging bumpers or side skirts.
Although this type of damage is usually quite negligible and does not affect driver safety or engine performance, it is still something that drivers who care about the appearance of their cars want to avoid. If you drive a lower ground and sporty car, be reminded to handle it sharply to safely maneuver over any potholes you see on the road.
The lower the car is to the ground, the easier it is to handle, but on the downside, it is more likely to be damaged by potholes
The good news is that most potholes are not big or deep enough to pose dangers to your cars. With properly inflated tires and a standard suspension, drivers can confidently drive over most potholes on the road. However, due to the seasonal climate changes which lead to more chances for potholes to grow, you need to be alert and avoid them as best you can.
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