Potholes are undoubtedly annoying, especially since they can be quite tricky to avoid. However, hitting a pothole does more than just make travel uncomfortable. It can cause severe damage to your vehicle, which would sometimes result in inconvenient and expensive repairs.
The problem with potholes is that you can’t always avoid them, and it isn’t always easy to identify their depth or size, especially during rainy or stormy weather. While there are ways to maneuver your way around them, it still doesn’t guarantee that you can get away scot-free.
What Are Potholes?
Potholes are surface damage mostly found inroads that either underdeveloped or experience heavy traffic. Though in rare circumstances, you might also find them in developed roads such as expressways.
There are a number of factors that cause potholes to form. However, shoddy construction, weathering, and regular traffic are the usual culprits. Improper road management and repair can make potholes worse. Until they fixed, they will continue to wear away, becoming wider and deeper given enough time.
Parts of Your Car That Potholes Can Damage
Damage caused by potholes can affect several parts of your vehicle. Below are some parts which are most prone to damage.
1. Tires and wheels
Tires are made with hardy materials which allow them to withstand daily use on both smooth and rough terrain. And yet they can still get damaged if you hit a pothole. It doesn’t matter what size or depth the pothole is. If you hit one fast enough at the right angle, it can cause the air pressure inside your tire to shift too quickly, leading to a blowout.
The sudden jolt or impact from hitting potholes can also cause dents, cracks, or bends on your wheel. And more often than not, damaged wheels will need immediate replacement if you want to drive safely and efficiently.
2. Suspension and steering
Worse than having damaged wheels and tires, potholes may also cause your suspension and steering to become misaligned. If you fail to avoid a pothole and hit it head-on, there’s a strong chance that one or two of your suspension components will lose their proper alignment.
The same thing can happen when you attempt to slowly drive over a pothole and realize it’s deeper than it appears. This too requires immediate repairs. Thankfully, a lot of shops offer special discounts during pothole season. Though if you want to save money on costly repairs, it’s best that you avoid potholes in the first place.
3. Exhaust and body
Exhaust pipes are also prone to damage since they’re on the underside of a vehicle’s carriage. Potholes that are deep and wide can scrape against the undercarriage and hit the exhaust pipes, muffler, or the catalytic converter. This can result in a noisy car, sudden power loss, and worse, leaking exhaust fumes which can be hazardous to health.
Low-riding vehicles (or vehicles with poor ground clearance) are more prone to exhaust damage when they encounter potholes. Any damage sustained will require repairs or outright replacement. All of which can be expensive and time-consuming.
Try to avoid driving in undeveloped roads. Or if you can’t help it, practice driving techniques intended to minimize damage from potholes.