Potholes are the bane of every road user’s existence, it can affect everyone from commuters, bikers, motorcyclists, and even motorists in general. They come in numerous shapes and sizes and depths as well but all come with the same risk of damaging your vehicle in one way or another. While some roads are wide enough that you can safely avoid these potholes, there are cases where you will need to take them head-on.
With that said, we have created a short list of things that can happen if you take a pothole the wrong way or at a speed. Remember when dealing with potholes it is always best to avoid them or take them at a very slow speed. In this manner, your car will be better protected from possible damage these holes in the road can cause.
Damaged or flat tire
One of the most common kinds of damage a pothole can cause to your vehicle is by giving it a flat tire. Your tires are the first to hit a pothole, so there is no surprise that these will get damaged if you take the road imperfections the wrong way. Even if your tire doesn’t show any immediate signs of damage, the impact alone of hitting a pothole can weaken or stretch the tire’s belt and cords which could lead to a blowout or flat further down the road. It is important to note, however, that it is very difficult to spot if your tire has been damaged by a pothole unless the effects are immediate. So if you hear or feel like one of your tires is going soft after hitting a pothole, we highly recommend that you try and air it up or in the worst-case scenario change it out with your spare tire.
Damage to your wheels
Most vehicles available on the market today will come with aluminum alloy-based wheels which while sturdy can still take some damage from hitting a pothole. This can result in a bent wheel especially if you drove over a pothole at a high rate of speed.
With that said, you will be able to notice a few things once this happens. You may experience new vibrations in your steering wheel, a different steering feel, or that your vehicle doesn’t handle like it used to. While these can also be symptoms of other issues it can also mean a bent rim. You should do a visual inspection after you feel any changes to your vehicle after you hit a deep pothole, you can also choose to get an alignment and wheel balancing to see if anything is wrong. It is important to note, that if your wheel is heavily damaged you will need to replace it asap or risk an even heftier repair bill.
Another key component of your vehicle that may get damaged if you hit a pothole the wrong way or at a high rate of speed is your suspension system. Potholes can cause premature wear and tear on your shocks and struts. You will notice this if your vehicle doesn’t quite ride the same as it used to and it may bounce more than it should over bumps and small road imperfections. If you feel like your vehicle is having any suspension issues it is best to bring it to a mechanic right away as you could run the risk of further damage.
The sudden forces of hitting a pothole can lead to the wheel alignment of your vehicle. If you notice that your vehicle has come out of alignment and starts to pull to one side if left alone then it’s best to bring it immediately to a service center. If left alone it can cause your tires to prematurely wear out or worse affect the handling of your vehicle in a negative way.
While this primarily applies to low or lowered vehicles, potholes can also cause damage to your bumpers. This is because the sudden dip may cause the lip of the bumper to catch on the other edge of the pothole resulting in scrapes or worse cracks along the edge of the bumper. If the worst happens it may require you to have your bumper replaced or have it fixed at a local service center. Either way, it’s still a costly repair, so it’s best to avoid potholes if possible.