Pothole season is at its prime and no one is immune to their sneaky destruction. Potholes can viciously assault innocent vehicles, nearly swallowing cars whole. We’ve all hit ‘em and, as luck would have it, there are usually only seconds to swerve before you’re in a half tire deep. These road hazards lay in wait, with their dips, bumps, and sharp toothy edges, just waiting to ruin your day. Potholes can cause anything from a small, sudden jolt to a blown tire or misalignment.

Here at LOF-Xpress™ we understand just how frustrating it can be to run over a pothole with your car. The worst part of it is that damage caused by potholes may not always be immediately apparent to the eye. Here are just a few ways that potholes can damage your vehicle:

  • Tire puncture, damage or wear

At best, hitting a pothole can cause unnecessary wear to your tire, and at worst, a pothole may cause a puncture to your tire or cause the tire’s sidewall to bulge. When severe damage is caused to your tire by a pothole, it will likely require immediate attention.

  • Wheel rim damage

If your car hits a deep pothole, aluminum tire rims are highly likely to become dented. This can result in a poor seal between the rim and the tire, which can cause air leaks and flat tires.

  • Suspension damage, including broken components

When a vehicle drives over a pothole, the initial force on the tire is transferred to the components of the suspension system (springs, shock absorbers, linkages etc.). Repeated jolts caused by potholes accelerate wear and tear of your suspension, while decreasing its performance.

  • Steering system misalignment

Alignment problems caused by potholes can lead to unpleasant and potentially unsafe complications such as: vibrations, poor steering, premature or irregular tread wear.  If you notice that your vehicle is ‘pulling’ to one side while driving, it’s usually an indication that your vehicle is misaligned. This can increase the cost of operating your vehicle because you will have to replace your tires more frequently. This condition also affects safety and contributes to driver frustration and/or fatigue.

  • Damage to the undercarriage. 

If you notice leaking from underneath your car after hitting a pothole, your undercarriage may have suffered damage when it scraped the asphalt. A leak from the undercarriage is just the first of many signs that your undercarriage could be damaged and it should be fixed immediately.

So, what do you do?

The best way to avoid pothole damage is to simply pay attention.  Try to steer clear of them if you can. If it is possible, simply swerve around them. This will help you avoid damage altogether. We recommend leaving space in front of your vehicle while driving, giving you more time to react to potholes.

It is especially helpful to watch for water or other road hazards. Potholes filled with water can be especially dangerous, because you don’t know their depth until it’s too late. Driving slowly can minimize the damage to your car if you hit a pothole.

If your vehicle hits a pothole and experiences a significant jolt, we recommend get it inspected immediately. This will prevent any further damage to your vehicle. If you continue to drive on minor problems they can start to compound, possibly resulting in major repairs down the road. Check your tires for uneven wear, or any bulges or visible damage, as this is often the first and most noticeable damage caused by potholes. Next, watch for any vibrations or the car pulling to the left or the right as this could mean that the pothole may have damaged your steering system or thrown your vehicle off alignment. Your wheels may need to be inspected or even balanced.

Here at LOF-Xpress™, we realize that potholes are often unavoidable due to constant changes in weather and regular wear and tear on the road, but as always, we want you to stay safe and your vehicle to always be functioning at its best!

Finally, don’t forget to vote LOF-Xpress™ for BEST Oil Change in Story County in the Ames Tribune’s final round of voting: http://amestribune.secondstreetapp.com/l/Ames-Tribunes-Best-of-Story-County-2017/Welcome