How Potholes Affect Your Car
September 22nd, 2015 by Eli P
Each year, motorists file nearly a half a million auto insurance claims due to damage from potholes. Moreover, most of these claims involve more than just a blown tire or bent rim. Unrepaired potholes can easily cause more extensive damage, including:
- Auto body scratches, scrapes and dents
- Premature wear on shocks and struts
- Suspension damage
- Steering system misalignment
- Exhaust system damage
- Engine damage
Interestingly, most of the problems occur as the tire exits the pothole. When you drive through a pothole, it puts a disproportionate amount of weight on the tire, which increases the severity of impact as it leaves the pothole. The deeper the hole, the greater the impact, and the greater the potential for costly damage.
Warning Signs of Pothole Damage
Damage caused by a pothole is not always immediately evident. So if you frequently drive on poorly maintained streets with a lot of potholes, it’s a good idea to carefully inspect your vehicle on a regular basis for less obvious signs of damage. Things to look out for include:
- Bulges in the sidewalls of your tires
- Bent or damaged rims
- Puncture holes in the undercarriage
- Scratches or scrapes on the body that can lead to rust
- Fluid leaks underneath the car
- Loud or abnormal sounds from the exhaust system
- Unusual vibrations while driving
Avoiding the Dreaded Pothole
When a pothole causes damage to your car’s suspension system, it can make it unsafe to drive. You may have suspension damage if your car:
- Rolls or sways on turns
- Has uneven braking
- Slides sideways on a winding road
- Bottoms out on bumps in the road
- Sits lower in the front or rear
- Has ongoing leak problems
- Loses control during sudden stops
To avoid potholes – and the damage that comes with them – always leave plenty of space between your car and the one in front of you. This will give you time to see the potholes and steer away from them. If you can’t avoid them on poorly maintained roads, reduce speed to minimize the impact. And don’t apply the brakes as you drive over potholes, as this places all the stress on the front suspension rather than spreading it out over the whole car.
If you’ve suffered auto body damage from the potholes in your area, bring your car in to the nearest Fix Auto USA center. Our friendly professionals will have your car looking like new in no time!
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