With spring upon us, we have officially entered pothole season. Potholes are more than just a driving nuisance; they can also be your vehicle’s worst enemy.
A pothole is an area of the road’s surface that has cracked, worn away, and formed a hole. It starts as a crack, and if it is not fixed quickly it can grow into a hole anywhere from a couple of inches wide and deep to a hole that is more than a few feet wide and several inches deep. These holes can cause serious harm to your alignment, steering and suspension, and wheels.
These are three ways that running over a pothole can damage your vehicle:
- Steering and Suspension Damage
The steering and suspension systems work together to determine how your vehicle rides and handles. Major components of these systems include the ball joints, bearings, seals and hub units, shocks and/or struts, steering box/rack, steering knuckle, and tie rod ends. Signs that there has been damage to the steering and/or suspension system include:
- Loss of control
- Swaying on turns
- Bottoming out or excessive bouncing
- The front end of the vehicle dives when braking
- The rear end of the vehicle squats when accelerating
- The vehicle sits lower than usual in either the front or rear
If you suspect that running over a pothole has caused damage to either of these essential driving systems, do not hesitate to bring your vehicle in for service. The sooner the problem is addressed the cheaper and easier it will be to correct.
- Wheel Alignment
Driving over a pothole has the potential to knock your wheels out of alignment. You might not think too much of this, but proper wheel alignment is important as it helps to ensure safe vehicle handling. It also improves the lifespan of your tires. Signs that your wheel alignment is off include:
- Uneven tire wear
- Vehicle pulling in one direction, instead of staying on a straight path
- Visible Tire Damage
Some tire damage caused by potholes will be visible to the naked eye. The tires are the only thing between your vehicle and the road under all sorts of driving conditions. As such, any damage to them should be addressed quickly. Things to look for after hitting a pothole include:
- Sidewall bulges and/or blisters
- Dents in the rim
- Low tire pressure
Meridian Automotive- Car Care Experts You Can Trust
If you have hit a pothole and experience any of the above problems, having your vehicle inspected by one of our highly skilled automotive technicians is a must. Our mechanics are ASE certified and provide automotive care that is both high-quality and cost friendly. Schedule your appointment online today or call us at 208-888-3797.