Pothole Damage to your Car

Signs a pothole may have damaged your car and what to do

What causes a pothole?

Potholes can appear on any road at any time, without any warning. They are usually caused by the expansion and contraction of water both in and on the ground, due to varying temperatures. They usually appear more common during winter and spring and for those that do appear in the colder months, you may have to wait several weeks for them to be effectively repaired by highway maintenance teams.

What damage can a pothole do to my car?

The uneven, sudden drop of a pothole puts a lot of stress on a vehicle’s tyres, wheels and overall suspension.

Even though cars have got tough through the years, there’s a chance a pothole could damage a tyre to the point of puncture, add excess wear to suspension components or break them entirely. Larger and deeper Poholes could even damage alloy wheels and components underneath a vehicle.

Has my car been damaged by a pothole?

These are the key areas that you should check on your vehicle:

Suspension: If you feel a loss of control of the car, for example steering is unsteady when you turn or you notice unusual vibrations and sounds, the steering or suspension may have been damaged due to the impact of the pothole. When the suspension gets knocked, it can leave the wheels sitting at the wrong angle. In order to fix this you may require wheel alignment.

Tyres: A puncture or a bulge on the tyre is an obvious sign that the pothole has caused damage, along with low tyre pressure . A bulge needs to be fixed straight away, as if left untreated it can cause the tyre to deflate. A pothole can also cause the tread to come away from the body of the tyre, which again needs to be repaired as soon as possible.

Wheels: Potholes can bend, chip or crack your wheels. Damage can sometimes be difficult to spot with thin cracks being hard to see. If any damage is spotted it need to be repaired or the tyre might become damaged and burst.

“Hitting a pothole may seem really inconsequential, but in addition to the short term dangers such as a tyre blow out or wheel damage, there is a real risk of longer term damage. Some drivers simply aren’t aware that some of the technological safety devices on vehicles such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or Lane Assist, all depend on the wheels being properly aligned. In the worst case scenario, a vehicle could be rendered unsafe, just as a result of an impact with a pothole.”

Swansway Accident Repair Centre Manager, Mark Trevers

Swansway Accident Repair Centre's Top tips on encountering a pothole:

  • Tyre Pressure - Make sure that your tyres at the optimum pressure. If your tyres are over or under inflated it will make pothole damage more likely.
  • Be wary of puddles - Puddles can conceal a pothole and hide how deep it is. Try and avoid driving your wheels through the puddle however if that's not possible approach with caution.
  • Stay alert - Try to spot potholes ahead of you by looking at the road ahead and taken action accordingly to avoid them.
  • No swerving - Don’t swerve to avoid a pothole, it can put both you and any on-coming cars in danger. To minimise any damage, keep your hands on the steering wheel at 10 to 2 and move straight forwards, keeping the tyres and the vehicle in the strongest position.
  • Reduce your speed - When you spot a pothole, gently reduce your speed. The quicker you hit a pothole, the more likely your vehicle is to sustain damage.
  • Braking whilst in a pothole - When you go over the pothole, try to avoid braking as this can cause more damage on the front suspension.
  • Steering Wheel Grip - Avoid the possibility of the steering wheel being knocked out of your hands due to the bumpy surface by ensuring you hold onto it firmly.

Do you think you've damaged your vehicle due to a pothole and want to get it checked?

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