As winter winds down and the weather gets warmer, motorists will see more potholes on the roadways and avoiding them can be a real challenge. If you hit a pothole, the non-profit Car Care Council recommends watching for three warning signs to determine if your vehicle has been damaged.
Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads are 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.
Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear, are symptoms of 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 wheel rim will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible, as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road.
If you feel your vehicle has suffered damage from hitting a pothole, it is wise to have it inspected by a professional service technician. Potholes occur when water permeates the pavement – usually through a crack – and softens the soil beneath it, creating a depression in the surface of the street. Many potholes appear during winter and spring months because of freeze-thaw cycles. Potholes can also be prevalent in areas with excessive rainfall and flooding.
“Pothole season may last longer these days as many municipalities do not have the resources to fill potholes as fast as they should, leaving drivers to dodge them well into late spring and summer,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Because hitting a pothole can put a big dent in your wallet, making necessary repairs right away could save you from more costly ones down what could be a very bumpy road.”
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.