Atlanta Car Dealer Explains, “The Pothole: Your Car’s Worst Enemy”

So, the other day I was driving home from your friendly neighborhood Southtowne General Motors Superstore on a road I travel daily. It was a nice, pleasant day as I was pondering the day I spent at your Atlanta Car Dealer, then “BOOM” I hit a pothole! Not just any old pothole, this thing looked like a meteor landed in the street. Whatever caused it, it wasn’t there the day before and I hit it…hard. So, what could I expect from such a jolting encounter?

  • Potholes cause premature damage to suspension and steering components. Tires and rims can also be damaged by potholes. Shocks and struts take the biggest brunt of the damage to start with. They compress and expand using hydraulic oil to alleviate the effects of driving on uneven surfaces. The bump is transferred to the vehicle; the extent of the bump travels from the tire and wheel directly to the shock absorber. Large potholes can cause the shock or strut to bottom out within itself. The shock is then transferred to the coil or leaf spring of the vehicle.

    In addition to these suspension components, control arms, ball joints, tie rods, idler arms, pitman arms, sway bar and sway bar links, center and drag links, wheel bearings and axle shafts are all susceptible to pothole damage. Because the steering and suspension components are compromised under duress, potholes are a leading contributor to a vehicle needing an alignment. Under- or over-inflated tires can be more easily damaged than one with proper inflation. Rims can dent or crack from severe pothole strikes. Long-term effects of damaged suspension or steering components can lead to premature tire wear and poor handling of the vehicle. In severe cases of pothole damage, even lower engine damage and undercarriage components such as the exhaust system can be compromised.

How Potholes Form

Seeing as this pothole seemingly formed over night (I know it didn’t), I looked up what exactly causes potholes and this is what I found out:

  • Potholes form when moisture seeps below the surface of the roads. The moisture freezes and expands or heats up and contracts, applying stress to the blacktop. As the weight of Atlanta cars continuously drive over these areas, small pieces of the blacktop start to chip away from the road. The more traffic traveling on the road, including the types of vehicles, the more blacktop that chips away and then the larger the pothole becomes. Road crews battle potholes in areas that experience severe winter months by patching the holes with a cold patch. This fills the hole temporarily until weather permits road crews to repair the damage to the roads.

Avoiding Potholes

So the big question is: “How do you avoid hitting potholes that you’ve either been lucky in avoiding, or fresh ones you never knew were there to begin with?

  • Leave enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. This allows you to see the oncoming pothole before striking it. Be aware of other traffic or pedestrians on the roads before swerving to avoid a pothole. Lower your speed on pothole filled roads. More damage can be incurred to a vehicle striking potholes at higher speeds, including compromised handling of the vehicle. Water-filled potholes do not allow you to see how large they are until you strike them. Don’t apply the brakes when driving over a pothole. This tilts the vehicle forward and places the amount of stress on the front suspension, which is the first part of the vehicle to strike the pothole.

Have you recently hit a pothole and now your new or used car is experiencing a whole new set of issues? Dented rims, alignment out, blown shock, blown out tire? Give your Atlanta Car Dealer a call . Our pothole damage specialists will get you back on the road in not time “flat”…pun intended.

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