The perils of spring potholes are upon us

Published on Wed, Mar 20, 2013
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Hitting a pothole can damage tires, wheels, steering and suspension, wheel alignment and more. “You don’t want to hit them,” said Joe King of Border Tire. “Especially if you have a tire that’s really thin. It won’t absorb the road impact as well.” King said that running through one of these road hazards could cause some pricey damage to your vehicle, including but not limited to bent rims or damaged wheels.

The Car Care Council recommends that motorists who experience any of the following warning signs after hitting a pothole should have a professional technician at their local repair shop inspect the vehicle – loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming-out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads are all indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. 

Key components are shocks and struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack or box, bearings, seals and hub units and tie rod ends.

If the car begins pulling in one direction while driving instead of maintaining a straight path and the tires start to wear unevenly, there could be an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling.

Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls or dents in the rim are all visible problems that should be checked out as soon as possible since tires are the critical connection between your car and the road in all sorts of driving conditions.

“Every driver knows what it feels like to hit a pothole,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. 

“What they don’t know is if their vehicle has been damaged in the process. If you’ve hit a pothole, it’s worth having a professional technician check out the car and make the necessary repairs to ensure safety and reliability.”