Road construction season is upon us in Edmonton with crews working around the clock to repair damaged roads and improve driving conditions for all Edmontonians. But, it seems that no matter how many repairs are done, there is always a nasty pothole waiting just around the corner. Needless to say, everyone wants to avoid pothole damage!
Potholes are often difficult to spot and can cause damage ranging from tires and wheels to alignment and suspension. It isn’t always possible to safely avoid hitting a pothole, but here is some information on what kind of damage can be sustained and how to reduce the risk.
What If You Can’t Avoid Pothole Damage?
If you are unable to avoid a pothole there are some specific things you should be on the lookout for on your vehicle. Here are some of the most common issues you may find.
Alignment issues are a common problem for vehicles after hitting a pothole. If your steering wheel seems off center, your alignment was most likely thrown off.
Another tell-tale sign that your alignment has been thrown out is your vehicle pulling to one side. This is a very common issue after coming into contact with a deep pothole.
You should have your alignment checked as soon as possible as there may be more serious issues.
Suspension And Exhaust Issues
If you begin to hear thumping, clunking, clicking, or rattling you may have sustained damage to your vehicle’s exhaust of suspension.
Damage to your suspension components may also cause your vehicle to feel as though it is swaying, or bouncing, and can sometimes cause your vehicle to bottom out. These issues will be most obvious when turning or going over bumps.
These issues can become more serious very quickly so we always recommend having a certified technician inspect your vehicle immediately should you notice any strange noises.
This type of damage could be caused by issues with your tie rods, steering rack, shocks, struts, ball joints, bearings, or seals – so it is important to have an expert perform a proper inspection and professional diagnosis.
Rims, Tires, And Wheel Damage
Some of the most common issues that drivers face when they are unable to avoid pothole damage are rim, tire, and wheel damage.
If you find that your steering wheel has started to vibrate or shake after hitting a pothole you have most likely damaged a tire or rim, or your wheel may have been knocked off-balance.
It is important to pay close attention after hitting a pothole, as it is also possible for potholes to cause flat tires. Under no circumstances should you attempt to continue driving on a flat tire as this will most likely cause serious damage to your vehicle and also poses a serious safety concern.
Watch For Changes In The Way Your Vehicle Drives
You know how your vehicle should feel. If you notice a sudden change in your vehicle’s handling or the way your vehicle sounds after hitting a pothole, contact your local shop for an inspection and repairs immediately.
If you feel your vehicle may no longer be safe to drive, pull off to safety and arrange for a tow truck.
Tips To Help Avoid Pothole Damage
Using common sense and driving to the conditions are the best tips we can provide to help avoid pothole damage. For example, it is going to be very difficult to spot potholes and have time to react if you are tailing the vehicle in front of you too closely.
At night, when it is raining, or during the winter, it will be especially hard to determine where potholes may be hiding. Puddles are another pothole haven – watch for these as it may look like a small puddle and turn out to be a deep pothole. If you suspect there may be a pothole hiding, slow down and give yourself time to react safely.
If you do see a pothole in the road, slow down, there are probably more of them in close proximity. If safe to do so, take your time to avoid driving directly into a pothole.
If you have no other choice but to hit the pothole, absolutely avoid slamming on your brakes. By hitting the brakes you are forcing the weight of your vehicle forward and down into the pothole, which can result in even more damage. Furthermore, slamming on your brakes may cause an accident.
In the unfortunate situation of a traffic collision, you need to know what steps to take. We recently posted a blog article on What To Do If You Are In A Traffic Collision, which you can read HERE.
It is also important to avoid swerving suddenly to avoid a pothole as this can create a more serious danger than the pothole originally presented.
You should also always ensure that your tires are properly inflated. Too much, or too little air can result in more severe damage. Tires are made to cushion the impacts caused by day-to-day driving, so ensuring that all your tires are inflated to the proper PSI is very important.
Recap Of Tips To Help Avoid Pothole Damage
Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
Maintain safe speeds to provide ample time to react
Drive to the road conditions
Watch for puddles
Avoid sudden braking or swerving
Pay attention to the road and avoid distractions
Check your tire pressure
Maintain your vehicle
Prevention is always the best way to avoid damage, so use caution, watch for hazards, and follow the tips above to minimize the risk of damaging your vehicle by hitting a pothole.
If you do hit a pothole, take a few minutes to visually inspect your vehicle and take note of any changes in the way it drives. If you do notice something, feel free to contact us or book an appointment online to have our experts perform a proper diagnosis and get you back on the road safely!
Remember, Southern Auto Body is your one-stop-shop for all your auto body repairs, vehicle painting, detailing, regular mechanical needs, and more!