From Rich White
Potholes have returned, and hitting one with your car can do a real number on tires, wheels, steering and suspension, and alignment. To help determine if hitting a pothole has damaged your vehicle, watch for these warning signs.
-Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming out on city streets, or bouncing excessively on rough roads are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals and hub units, and tie rod ends.
-Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear, are symptoms of an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling.
-Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the wheel rim will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible, as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road.
If you’ve hit a pothole, it can be difficult to know if your vehicle has been damaged in the process, so have a professional technician check out the car and make the necessary repairs to ensure safety and reliability.
April is National Car Care Month and the non-profit Car Care Council offers many free tools on its website to help you drive smart, save money, and be car care aware, including the popular 80-page Car Care Guide and a custom service schedule and email reminder service.
Rich White, executive director
Car Care Council