After the one of the worst winters in decades, roads are showing the results. Now that springtime is upon us, motorists are finding a plethora of potholes on the roadways. Cold temperatures, snow, and rainfall in many parts of the country have created the perfect storm for the motorists' dreaded “perils of potholes period,” cautions the Car Care Council.
On average, potholes cost American drivers more than five billion dollars annually. Drivers know immediately when they hit a pothole: The heart-stopping, teeth-jarring jolt is hard to mistake. However, it’s not always immediately clear if hitting the pothole caused damage to the vehicle, and to what extent.
Hitting a pothole can damage tires, wheels, steering and suspension, wheel alignment, and more. One bad bump can wind up costing car owners hundreds of dollars in repairs! The Car Care Council recommends that motorists who experience any of the following warning signs after hitting a pothole should have a professional technician at their local repair shop inspect the vehicle.
Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming-out on city streets, or bouncing excessively on rough roads. These 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. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals and hub units and tie rod ends.
Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear. These symptoms mean there’s 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. These problems will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road in all sorts of driving conditions.
If you’ve hit a pothole, the Car Care Council can help you find a repair shop in your area. The council’s website features a “Find a Shop” locator.
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 .