As the cold weather and increased precipitation (but still a rare occurrence of snow) start to arrive in the Phoenix area, one problem that many drivers will encounter this season is potholes on the road. That’s right. The combination of cold overnight temperatures and daytime thawing directly cause more potholes. While the Arizona Department of Transportation tries to fix them as quickly as possible, potholes can be quite the issue for drivers.
But why is that? What problems exactly do potholes cause for vehicles? Read on for some insight into the vehicle issues that can occur when running into a pothole, especially if you happen to run into multiple.
What to Do with a Pothole on the Road
Every good driver should be able to stay alert for any potential obstacle on the road, including potholes. Two factors for a pothole will have an effect on the damage to your vehicle: the speed at which you hit the pothole and the size of the pothole.
So, the first thing you should do when you notice a pothole ahead is try to avoid it, but remember to do so safely. Don’t swerve into another lane or the curb trying to avoid a pothole. You will do more damage than good by doing that. Careless swerving or dodging a pothole is one of the biggest problems that can result from potholes on the road. If you cannot safely avoid a pothole, remember that you still control your speed when hitting the pothole. This means you can significantly slow down, if it’s safe, to minimize any damage your vehicle may incur from the pothole.
Car Damage from a Pothole: Tires
Of course, a vehicle’s tires are the most vulnerable part of the car when it comes to potholes. When you drive over a pothole, especially if you’re driving fast, a tire can have sidewall bulges, tread separation, or, worst case, a puncture that almost immediately causes a flat tire (trust us: we’ve been there). As a quick tip, with the cold air that directly decreases tire pressure and also causes more potholes that can damage tires, be sure you’re prepared for when low tire pressure inevitably arrives.
Car Damage from a Pothole: Wheels
Potholes can have a negative effect on your vehicle’s wheels. Depending on where your tire or wheel hits a pothole, there can be chips or cracks on the wheel. This prevents an airtight, secure seal with the tire, and, if a wheel is damaged enough, the wheel’s rotation. A bent wheel doesn’t roll smoothly, affecting your car’s overall performance.
Car Damage from a Pothole: Steering and Suspension
Significant or continual damage from potholes also will affect your vehicle’s steering and suspension. These problems include your car pulling in one direction, unusual vibrations or sounds, and the handling feeling loose.
Car Damage from a Pothole: Undercarriage, Body, and Exhaust
What many people don’t think about when driving over a pothole is how it can hurt your car’s undercarriage, body, or exhaust. This particularly happens with cars that have a low ride height. Potholes can scrape low-hanging bumpers or side skirts, or, even worse, scrape undercarriage that can lead to rust, leaks, or holes. You can notice this when your car has louder noises, odd sounds, or poor performance.
Don’t Let Potholes Ruin Your Winter
With rain, sleet, snow, traffic, potholes, and more, winter can be an increased time for vehicle accidents. Be intentionally safe this winter as you drive to avoid anything that can harm your vehicle or you. But if you do run into pothole damage, don’t hesitate to contact Performance Muffler for exhaust repair services and more.
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Performance Muffler has a team of real car lovers that do exceptional work. We can modify your exhaust, increase your car’s performance, or repair your vehicle. Learn more about us or read our blog for vehicle tips and insight.