Potholes are some of the most overlooked causes of car damage. There tends to be more of them during hard winters and rainy seasons though you could also find them on ill-maintained roads and off-the-beaten paths.
Sizes can range from the insignificant (which feel like bumps on the road) to large, gaping holes where you’re likely to get stuck. Regardless of their size, potholes can ruin your car’s suspension and tires, or lead to accidents.
4 Steps For Avoiding Damage Caused By Potholes
While it would be impossible to find a pothole-free road, you can actively protect your vehicle and prevent damage. All you need to do is follow these three simple steps to keep your car safe.
Step 1: Avoid driving over potholes
When it comes to potholes, avoiding them is the key to safer driving. Stay away from roads that are ridden with potholes or are under repair. You’d be better off driving across smoother roads, even if it means having to take longer routes.
If you see a pothole ahead of you, steer around it. Puddles of mud and water can hide potholes so you should avoid them too. But if you only notice a pothole at the last minute, never swerve suddenly just to avoid it. Otherwise, you might get into an accident or further damage your vehicle.
Instead, what you should do is lower your speed, release the brake, and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel as you drive past it. That way, your suspension will have enough room to adjust and you don’t end up with a flat tire.
Step 2: Always check your tire pressure
Most drivers have this misconception that flat tires result from jagged rocks that pierce through them, or sudden impact with a pothole which then deflates the tire. While these can be true in some cases, the reality is that flat tires have more to do with air pressure.
A tire that is either under or over inflated can become flat or blow out if it hits a pothole. You want to make sure that all your tires are just the right pressure – no more, no less.
Step 3: Check for damages after impact
When you hit a pothole, park your vehicle on the side and check for visible signs of damage. Assess for bulges and tears on the tire, as well as scratches and dents on the bumper, body, and underside of your car.
Step 4: Watch out for more signs of damage
If your steering is compromised or there are strange noises coming out of the exhaust or engine (and they weren’t there before), these are all signs that you need to take your car to an auto repair shop. Have it inspected and repaired before the damage worsens with continued use.
More Tips For Added Safety Against Potholes
Help keep your local roads safe for all drivers and their vehicles. Report any potholes that you see to the local city or state officials so they can have them repaired. Furthermore, you shouldn’t attempt to fill the potholes by yourself. No matter how good your intentions are, it is considered illegal to do so.