Pesky Potholes – Avoiding Damage

Posted March 22, 2017

Even with the unseasonably warm winter we’ve had along the Front Range, we still have enough road damage to create potholes.

Potholes occur when water seeps into pavement through unsealed or improperly sealed cracks.  When the water freezes, it expands and enlarges the crack.  When the ice under the pavement melts and evaporates, a void is left.  Surrounding pavement falls into the void and forms a pothole.

Hitting a pothole can cause significant damage to your vehicle. Vehicle repairs due to pothole contact typically involve tires, shock absorbers, suspension systems, struts, rims, wheel alignment and catalytic converters.

Remember, in some municipalities, you can report potholes via email or a phone app. Click this link to report a problem in the city of Aurora.

When you see a pothole ahead of you on the road, what do you do?  Let’s discuss a few strategies to minimize the jarring impact to you and your car.

Slow Down – The effect on your tires increases with speed.  Hitting a pothole at high speed can cause hidden internal damage that could lead to tire failure later down the road – weeks or months later.  Slowing down is no guarantee you will not have any damage, but it can certainly lessen the impact.

To Brake or Not to Brake – That is the question.  It is best to not brake during impact.  Braking during impact sets up the tire and wheel assembly for a direct hit against the edge of the hole.  You can cause damage to other components if the brakes are engaged during a pothole collision.

Take it Straight On – If you must hit the pothole – don’t swerve.  Hitting the pothole at an unnatural angle, can cause additional damage to the tires, wheel, rim, and alignment.

While it’s always a good idea to avoid the pothole – be alert with your evasive maneuvers.  Make sure your avoidance of the pothole does not put others, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles, in peril.

The biggest danger comes from damage that you may not see or notice right away. No pothole, regardless of how small it is or how slow you drive over it, is completely risk-free for your vehicle. Don’t ignore small issues and let them snowball into big problems. Schedule a thorough inspection with our ASE-Certified technicians at Chase Automotive if you have hit a pothole.

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Categories: Auto Repair Aurora