Potholes are an unfortunate reality of driving in Alberta. Everyone knows that they make the driving experience unpleasant, but drivers often forget that potholes can do some serious damage to their vehicles. Read on for an overview of the most common vehicle damage caused by potholes and how you can void it.
Tires & Wheels
When you hit a pothole, your wheels and tires are the first things to feel the impact. While tires are fairly robust, hitting a pothole fast enough or at a weird angle can puncture tires or even result in large gashes. Your wheels are also highly susceptible to pothole damage. One of the most commons forms of damage is bent lips or rims. This can range from a small bend in the lip to being bent entirely out of shape.
Potholes can also put your wheels out of alignment. This can cause a number of issues from difficulty steering (i.e. the vehicle pulling to one side, or feeling excessive vibrations while driving) to uneven tire wear.
The suspension system is the next major part to take damage when you hit a pothole. While the suspension system is meant to handle some bumps in the road, large potholes or excessive smaller, sharp bumps can cause your suspension system to wear out faster.
If the pothole is large enough, or if your suspension system is damaged, your vehicle can “bottom out”, where the bottom of your car actually hits the road. This can result in some serious damage to the vehicle’s undercarriage.
Preventing Damage from Potholes
The key to preventing or at least minimizing damage is to be aware of your surroundings. In the most ideal situation, you can avoid the pothole altogether. Of course, this is not possible in every situation. If you are unable to avoid a pothole, try to safely slow down as you approach. Do not slam on your brakes, as this can be just as damaging as hitting the pothole at full speed.
Finally, if you suspect that your vehicle has been damaged, be sure to get it looked at right away. Minor issues can quickly develop into major problems if left unchecked. Taking your vehicle into the shop for simple checkup can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.