‘Tis the season for the gaping holes in the ground we drive on every day to grow larger, causing delays, damage, and annoyance on the daily commute. Potholes can cause real, costly damage to your car, so taking the issue seriously is important! Here are some of our best tips to keep your car safe, and save you money in the long run.
Slow Down, But Not Too Much
Seriously, if you see a pothole, reduce your speed a little. Don’t lock your brakes or aggressively stop though, because not only is that not safe for those driving behind you, but braking heavily compresses the suspension of the car and can actually force your tire deeper into the hole.
Instead, let off the gas and ease your foot onto the brake. Spotting the pothole early makes this a lot easier, so stay alert to not just the road itself in front of you, but to how the cars ahead of you are moving.
Inflate Your Tires
Check what your manufacturer recommends for the inflation of your tires, and try to keep it there. Properly inflated tires are less likely to puncture if they hit the edge of a pothole, causing you to have to replace the whole thing.
It’s good practice to check once a week on your tires, and fill them regularly if they need it. If you’re not sure how to check what your manufacturer recommends for fill, check your cars manual, Google your make model and year of car, or ask your local mechanic.
Be Careful Swerving to Avoid Them
It’s second nature to assume that if you’re going down the road and you see a pothole, you should swerve to avoid it. But be careful! Not only is it dangerous for oncoming traffic, running off the road, and all of the obvious reasons, but hitting just the edge or half of your back or front tire in the pothole can actually do more damage than hitting it straight on. Swerving might feel like the right idea at the moment, but it can cost you money long term.
How Bad Can Hitting a Pothole Be, Anyway?
It’s just a hole. How bad can it be? Pretty bad, actually.
Hitting a pothole at the wrong angle or at a bad speed can deflate or puncture your tires, which is the best-case situation for tire damage. You can crack or create bulges in the tire which can’t be fixed, meaning you need a whole new tire. If the pothole is deep enough it can scratch or damage your undercarriage, resulting in fluid leaking or loud noises from a damaged exhausted. And it can also even cause your alignment to change, meaning your car will pull one way or the other instead of driving straight.
Potholes are a big deal and should be taken seriously. Be careful avoiding them, slow down when you’re driving in areas you know are full of them, and be smart about car maintenance and care. It will save you time, money, and a lot of headaches.