Archive for April 20th, 2018|Daily archive page

How Much Will Pothole Damage Cost You?

You’re driving when you suddenly strike a deep hole in the pavement that shakes your car. The culprit? A pothole.

It’s a hazard millions of drivers across the country face as winter gives way to spring and roads begin to thaw, causing an annual outbreak of potholes. But potholes can form at any time of year in any climate, and they can be quite dangerous and costly.

Paying for pothole damage

Pothole run-ins can wreak havoc on your car’s tires, wheels, shocks and more. A 2016 survey from AAA found that nearly 30 million U.S. drivers experienced pothole damage significant enough to require repairs. Most pothole-related repairs cost less than $250, but in some cases the bill can exceed $1,000.

Hitting a pothole—or taking the wrong measures to avoid one—can also lead to a crash. A blown tire or broken suspension part can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, as can a split-second decision to stomp on the brakes or swerve out of your lane to avoid a pothole.

How to protect yourself—and your vehicle—from potholes

  • Routinely check your tires for proper inflation. This is your best protection, as a tire is the primary “cushion” between a pothole and your vehicle’s wheels and suspension. Here are the key warning signs that you need new tires.
  • Be wary of puddles. They may conceal potholes.
  • Don’t swerve. Look out for collision threats, such as using your rearview mirror, before attempting to dodge a pothole.
  • If you can’t avoid a pothole … slow down, but release the brakes and straighten the steering wheel just before impact to help minimize any damage.
  • Stay focused. Eliminate distractions, look ahead for roadway hazards and keep a safe distance from other vehicles around you.

What to do if you hit a pothole

What do you do after you hit a particularly big pothole? Here are a few warning signs that your vehicle may need to be checked by a mechanic.

  • Listen for odd vibrations. Pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel and bend or break suspension components. If you hear any unusual noises or vibrations in your vehicle, get it checked out.
  • Check the wheel alignment. Hitting a pothole can knock your car’s wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. Often, you’ll know this happened if your vehicle pulls to the left or right.

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