What Causes Potholes?
Potholes occur mostly during the winter season, especially in areas like Colorado where our weather variations can be quite extreme. It begins when water seeps into the cracks of asphalt then freezes and expands which moves the dirt gravel and layers around. When this frozen combination of dirt, ice, and gravel thaws it leaves holes under the road’s surface. On roads with more or literally heavier traffic such as large trucks, the asphalt will collapse, creating the infamous vehicle destroying potholes.
Pothole Damage Can Create Serious Issues For Your Car
Unfortunately, potholes can cause some serious damage to cars depending on the size of the hole and the speed at which you’re driving over it. The damage tends to worsen on lowered cars and vehicles with smaller rim or tire sizes. Some potholes have been known to create an impact comparable to a 35 mph car crash! Potholes are a major cause of why your car is no longer driving smoothly. Potholes create all kinds of damage from tires, to suspension, to exhaust. Learn more about the exhaustive services we provide to help you get back on the road safely!
Specific Issues Caused by Potholes
The tire sidewalls will often get budgets or blisters from the excessive slamming downwards and upwards when driving over a pothole.
Wheel Rim Damage
Potholes can cause chips or dents in your wheels’ rims if they come in contact with the asphalt.
If you’re car drops too low the bottom can scrape against the road, causing wear, fluid leaks, and can lead to rust.
Exhaust System Damage
Similarly when the bottom of the vehicle touches the asphalt any part of your exhaust system can get dents or punctures. Listen for strange noises as a key indicator that this is the case. Learn how these and other winter-related conditions can affect your exhaust system.
Alignment and Suspension Damage
The aggressive drops from potholes often will throw an alignment out of wack or cause further damage to your suspension. Be on the lookout for even tire wear or if you notice that your car is pulling to the right or the left. These are potential signs of alignment damage.
How to Prevent Pothole Damage
The best way to prevent potholes is to avoid them altogether. Follow these simple steps to prevent potential damage to your vehicle!
Simple Steps for Avoiding Potholes
Drive Slowly and Give Extra Space
While we always recommend playing it safe by driving slowly and providing extra space between you and the car in front of you this becomes especially important during pothole season. Slow speeds not only mitigate damage if you hit one but when combined with ample space you can avoid them altogether!
Keep on the Lookout for Puddles
When it’s wet out or there is a lot of snowmelt often times these road hazards will be hiding in puddles of water. When water puddles up in a pothole, drivers often do not realize there it is there or how severe of a hole it is. If you are driving slowly and paying attention to puddles then do your best to avoid them- you never know if a deep hole lies within.
Avoid Heavily Damaged Roads
Whenever possible if a road is already very damaged it is the best policy to avoid it. Unfortunately, potholes are often worse are highly trafficked roads, which are typically the best way to get to point A to B.
Limiting Damage from Potholes when Hitting them is Inevitable
Proper Tire Inflation
Underinflated or overinflated tires significantly increase your chances of damaging your vehicle when driving over a pothole. Find out what the proper PSI (pounds per square inch) of air pressure your tires recommend. On a cold day, use a tire gauge to find out where your tires are at then either fill or remove air according to your tire’s recommended PSI.
Drive Slow & Hold on Tight
Once again driving slow is always key to playing it safe. If you are going over a pothole, drive slowly and hold onto your steering wheel tightly to avoid losing control of the vehicle. Slower speeds reduce the damage caused by potholes!
Don’t Slam on the Brakes
Braking when going over a pothole can cause more damage. It’s best to brake BEFOREHAND to mitigate potential damage. Simply ride it out to lower your chances of vehicle damage.
Reporting Pothole Sightings to the Colorado Department of Transportation
If you see a pothole, especially on Interstate, US, or State Highways please report them right away! Our local CDOT does it’s best to ensure potholes are fixed in a timely manner, but can only do so if they know where they are. Report Potholes in Colorado here.
Be sure your Car is Good to Drive with our FREE Multi Point Suspension Inspections
Visit your local AAMCO Colorado location today for a completely complimentary multi-point safety inspection. Take a look at our special offers page for more information. We are here to help. Don’t wait until the roads are smooth again, get your car checked now!