We’ve all seen that funny cartoon where the police officer pulls a driver over for swerving, and the driver responds with, “I was avoiding potholes, officer.” It’s a funny cartoon, but it seems like the reality in Macomb County and across southeast Michigan. Potholes are everywhere. Potholes get worse in the winter, and it seems like there isn’t enough spring and summer to repair the damage before winter starts again. If you’ve had the bad luck of hitting a pothole you know that it’s a real surprise. However, what might be even more surprising is the damage that a pothole can do to your car.
The Pothole Reality
Macomb County and southeast Michigan aren’t alone in its pothole problem. Communities and States across the nation are facing an infrastructure crisis. With fewer and fewer tax payer dollars going to maintain and replace roadways, potholes are becoming more commonplace. This also means that damages to vehicles due to road damage, like potholes, is also becoming a major expense for drivers. In 2017, there were 267 claims made to the Michigan Department of Transportation for pothole damages, costing less than $1,000. Only 9 of these claims were funded by the state, and there were likely hundreds more that were not filed.
The Damage Report
It’s a no brainer. Hitting a pothole can cause some serious damage to your car. Small potholes are usually no big deal, however, large deep potholes can inflict costly damage to your car. If you hit a pothole, it’s important that you inspect your vehicle for damage in a timely manner. If you know what you are looking for, you can inspect your vehicle on your own, if you aren’t sure what to look for you will want to bring your vehicle to a qualified mechanic. Here are some common damages to your car and tires that potholes can cause:
- Tire puncture
- Wheel rim damage
- Premature wear on shocks and struts
- Broken suspension components
- Steering misalignment
- Exhaust system damage
Fixing Tire and Wheel Damage
Tires and wheels almost always take the brunt of the abuse from potholes. The most common damages to tires and wheels are bulging sidewalls of tires and bent or dented wheel rims. If you hit a pothole hard enough, you can even blow out your tire or puncture your tire right away. Repairing tire damage can range from fixing the puncture to replacing your tire.
Most car wheels are made of aluminum / magnesium. This means that they are susceptible to dents. Many times, dents can’t be repaired because they will crack due to the porous material used. When the wheel / rim cracks it will need to be replaced. Car Guys Auto Center has options for all budgets to include new, used, and re-manufactured wheel rims.
The Damage You Cannot See
Unless you really know your car, you might not notice the suspension and steering problems that potholes can cause. Beside the potential for damage to your wheels and tires, potholes can cause substantial damage to your car’s suspension and steering systems. Your car may require replacement of shocks and struts, sway bar parts and a complete realignment after hitting a pothole. If the pothole is deep enough, it could cause damage to the underside of your engine, or to your exhaust system. These repairs are often costly and may take your car out of commission for a day or more.
Avoid Them if You Can
How do you eliminate costly repairs caused by potholes? Well avoiding potholes is your best bet. Follow these simple steps to keep your car clear of potholes:
- Keep your tires at the right pressure. Your tires are part of your car’s suspension, so keeping them at the correct pressure will not only protect your wheels and tires from pothole damage, but will also protect your steering and suspension.
- Leave room between your car and the car in front of you. This way you can easily spot and avoid potholes
- Slow down. Especially in wet and dark conditions, potholes can be hard to see. If you aren’t going to fast, you can minimize damage or easily avoid potholes under most conditions.
I Hit a Pothole in Macomb County and Need Help From The Best Auto Repair Service Center in Fraser!
If your car is suffering from pothole damage, let Car Guys Auto Center help you with all of your tire, wheel, suspension and alignment repair needs. Even if you just want to have your car inspected for pothole damages, we are here to help. To schedule an appointment, please call us today at (586) 285-4444.