Why You Should Always Have Your Car Checked After Hitting a Pothole

The joys of spring are right around the corner—but with them, unfortunately, come those rim-rattling hazards that every driver dreads: potholes.

LC Image - Why You Should Always Have Your Car Checked After Hitting a Pothole
But why do potholes pop up?

Potholes are caused by repeated freezing and thawing cycles and occur when water seeps into cracks in the ground, freezes, expands and then pushes out chunks of pavement. Potholes wreak havoc on roads more frequently as winter turns to spring due to the freezing and fluctuating temperatures during this time.

While seasoned drivers have become adept at bobbing and weaving around potholes, sometimes a hit is inevitable. If and when you do hit a pothole, it's crucial that you pull over as soon as it's safe, to check your car for any visible damage.

There are, however, a few signs to look out for when you think your vehicle has damage from a pothole.

The signs of pothole damage to look for include:

  • Deflated tires

  • Tire punctures

  • Broken tire belts and/or cords

  • Tire tread separation (when the tread of a tire separates from the casing or body of a tire)

  • Blisters or bulges protruding from the side of tires

  • Damaged wheel or rim: this includes bends, dents or cracks in the side of the wheel, where the rim meets the tire

  • Brake system damage

  • Noisy exhaust system

  • Bottoming out, excessive bouncing and loss of control

  • Crooked steering wheel and/or car pulling to one side

  • Unusual vibrations and sounds

  • Leaking fluids

Even if there are no apparent signs that something's wrong, there's still a chance that your vehicle has suffered internal damage. If left unrepaired, this kind of damage can lead to a ripple effect on your vehicle down the road—and we mean that literally.

Long-term effects of pothole damage to a car can include:

  • Alignment problems

  • Decreased fuel efficiency

  • Suspension issues

  • Bent steering components

  • Broken ball joints, struts, or shocks

  • Bent rims

  • Damage to the body of the car or engine parts

  • Uneven, premature tire wear

It can be difficult for the average driver to spot something like car suspension damage, so it's best to have a professional at your local Mavis inspect your vehicle as soon as possible after a pothole encounter and to discuss alignment services, inspection services and complete car services. Doing so just might help save you from costly damage to your car's most valuable parts.