Four Ways to Protect Your Car During Pothole Season
It’s an innocent enough scenario. Rain or snow seeps into the soil below the road’s surface. The moisture inevitably freezes when temperatures drop, causing the ground to expand and push the pavement up. Traffic then stresses the pavement to its breaking point. Enter: A giant, unseemly pothole—ready to wreak havoc on city and rural roads alike, and bring infinite damage to vehicles of all types.
But even with pothole season in full swing, we have a couple tips on how you can avoid the damage they cause to your vehicle.
How To Protect Your Car From Potholes
- Be On the Lookout
If it’s possible to avoid running over a pothole, do so. Keep your eyes peeled at all times. One way to do this is to maintain proper following distance between you and the car in front of you. The minimum recommended distance is three seconds, but this should increase when road and / or weather conditions are not ideal. Keeping a healthy distance between you and the car in front of you helps give you a wider view of the road—allowing you to better see any approaching hazards. It pays to be vigilant even when driving on familiar territory, as potholes can form overnight – and even those that have been fixed can open up again.
- Don’t Swerve!
If you’re driving on a busy road and are about to encounter a pothole, just let it happen. Swerving or making sudden movements can potentially cause an accident. Maintain control over your own vehicle and slow down so the impact with the pothole is reduced.
- Proper Inflation For The Win
As always, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under or over inflated tires are always at higher risk for flats or blowouts. While it’s always important to make sure tires are inflated properly, this is especially beneficial during pothole season.
- See It, Report It.
When you do see a pothole, remember to report it on your city or state’s official website. A simple Google search should lead you exactly where you need to be in order to report appropriately.
- How to Tell if Your Car Has Pothole Damage
If you do run over a pothole, here are some signs of damage to watch for.
- Loss of Control
Does it feel like your car is bottoming out or swaying while turning? Your suspension might have been damaged, which can affect many other important parts of your car from shocks and struts to ball joints and bearings.
- Visual Damage
It’s important to visually inspect your car often—but after a pothole encounter, do it right away. Look for bulges and tears on tires and other imperfections on the body and bumper of your car.
- Steering Issues
Feel a pull? If so, your alignment is probably off and needs to be looked at as soon as possible. Your tires and your steering wheel should always point in the same direction.
- Exhaust and Engine Noises
If you hear ANYTHING out of the usual after hitting a pothole, don’t ignore it! There could be damage to your exhaust system or engine, and your vehicle should be checked out immediately.
If you’re even thinking there might be the slightest damage due to potholes, be sure get your car checked. Play it safe. Driving around in a damaged vehicle is unsafe for you and everyone else on the road. If you hit a pothole and think your car might be damaged, simply visit your local Sears Auto Center or schedule an appointment online. Our experts will give your vehicle a thorough check and help you get back on the road in no time! Learn more about the damage potholes can cause to your vehicle!