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Rules of the Road

Car Care 101 Rules of the Road by Sears Auto

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Potholes – more damaging than you think

Potholes – more damaging than you think

How to Successfully Navigate Pothole Season

It’s really no secret. Potholes are the worst. They’re created when 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 pushing the pavement up. Then, traffic stresses the pavement to its breaking point. When the pavement breaks, a new pothole is formed.

These craters can range in size from small cracks to giant crevasses, and can cause big problems to your tires, suspension system, alignment, even your engine. Here are some tips on handling these hazardous holes.

How to React Properly to a Pothole

When a pothole crosses your path, your reaction is very important. Doing what you can to avoid potholes, and making the right moves when you do encounter them can help you avoid costly damage to your vehicle. Here’s what you should do:

  • Stay at least a car’s length behind the car in front of you. This gives you a wider view of the road – allowing you to see if you are approaching any road hazards. (And, it’s never polite to tailgate another vehicle.)
  • Don’t swerve to avoid a pothole. Doing this could potentially cause an accident. Instead, grab control of your wheel and slow down so the impact with the pothole is less severe.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Under or over inflated tires are more at risk for blowouts and flats. A properly inflated tire can handle the impact of a pothole much more efficiently.
  • Report potholes to your state or city’s official website. That way, they can be fixed for future drivers.

How to Assess Pothole Damage

In the event you do hit a pothole (or several), there are a number of key areas on your vehicle to check to ensure there isn’t any severe damage. These include:

  • Bulging tires: If you see bumps on the side of your tire, you’ll want to get to a Sears Auto Center as quickly as possible for a tire check.
  • Under the car: Small rocks or pieces of pavement from the pothole can puncture or dent your vehicle’s fluid lines, or even get lodged in your brakes.
  • Rims: Dents, large scratches or scrapes can cause vibration, a tear in your tire, buildup of rust or loss of air pressure.
  • Exhaust and engine: If you’re hearing odd noises coming from your vehicle, or your exhaust has gotten a bit louder, there’s probably something wrong with your vehicle.

How to Fix Pothole Damage

If you hit a pothole and discover a problem with your car, don’t panic. The experts at Sears Auto Center will evaluate the situation and suggest the necessary repairs. Commonly suggested services for pothole damage include:

  • Alignment
  • Tire patching, replacement and maintenance
  • Vehicle Inspection
  • Tire balancing

Visit your local Sears Auto Center or schedule an appointment online. We put your life in drive.

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