Feeling the surprising jolt of hitting a pothole — and the uneasiness of facing an expensive repair — is an unsettling sensation that some drivers might know all too well. These pesky pits in the road are notorious for wreaking havoc on cars and causing serious problems. If you ever find yourself unable to avoid a pothole, we at Driver’s Way in Birmingham want you to know which areas of your car to check for damage.
Here are the five parts of your car potholes are likely to affect:
Since tires are the point between you and the road, it’s no surprise that they’re susceptible to pothole damage like sidewall bulges, tread separation, or getting flat. These problems can occur from the pothole’s hard edge that compresses the tire against the wheel on impact. To help prevent these types of issues, always make sure your tires are properly inflated.
Bends, chips, or cracks can occur on your wheels from the hard angles in potholes that apply impact force. A bent wheel won’t be able to roll smoothly, and chips look like chunks missing from the rim where it meets the tire. However, cracks can be more difficult to spot as they can be subtle hairline fractures along the wheel circumference or in one of the spokes.
Car suspension is designed to absorb impacts and ensure a smooth ride, however, there’s a limit to how much it can actually handle. Sudden hits against potholes can cause a number of suspension issues, including misalignment, broken ball joints, and damaged struts or shocks.
If your car is misaligned, you may notice your steering wheel is off center or your car pulls in one direction. If this is the case, bring your car in for service to receive an alignment. Signs of broken ball joints, struts, or shocks include unusual vibrations and sounds, wandering steering, or poor ride quality. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to get your car checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.
Since exhaust pipes run along the undercarriage of the vehicle, they’re the perfect victims for pothole damage. Deep craters can cause a car to bottom out and scrape the undercarriage against the pavement, possibly denting or ripping a hole in the exhaust pipes, muffler, or catalytic converter. If there’s a hole in your exhaust system, you may experience a loss of power or unpleasant noises. Even worse, your car will spew out harmful pollution.
If you drive a car that is lower to the ground, the more likely it is to be damaged by potholes. In addition to the issues above, potholes can scrape against low-hanging bumpers or side skirts. Although this type of damage is typically cosmetic, it’s still something you should take care of in order to maintain your vehicle’s appearance.
If you encounter potholes along your daily commute, it’s important to stay alert and avoid them the best you can. However, if you hit an unforeseen hole that causes dreaded damage, make your way over to our service center for repairs. Whether you need a new tire, an alignment, or a cosmetic fix, our skilled technicians can handle it!
For additional advice, please don’t hesitate to contact Driver’s Way in Birmingham today!