Auto

How potholes can damage your vehicle

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It’s that time of year. The spring thaw is coming (really) leaving behind winter-ravaged streets and a pockmarked mess for drivers. Whether you intentionally sailed through one or more in disgust after dodging a dozen or so, or hit one hidden under melted snow or rainwater, a pothole can do serious damage to your car.

You’re not alone. Motorists in this country pay about $3 billion a year in car repairs due to damage from potholes, according to AAA, and sadly, we can look forward to the problem every year.

Here are three main problems to look for if you’re unfortunate enough to hit a pothole this spring, courtesy of the nonprofit organization the Car Care Council:

  • Loss of control. If your vehicle sways when making turns onto a street, bottoms out, or bounces excessively on rough roads, you may have damaged your steering and suspension.
  • Pulling in one direction and uneven tire wear. If you experience these symptoms, hitting that pothole may have knocked your vehicle out of alignment. Proper alignment is crucial in preventing premature tire wear, and it’s also necessary for safe handling of your vehicle.
  • Tire and wheel problems. Low tire pressure, visible bulges, blisters in the sidewalls or dents in your rims are usually dead giveaways that your tire and/or wheel is damaged after you’ve hit a pothole, says the Council. A tire blowout is a dangerous condition that can have dire results. Potholes can result in a flat tire, too, because the street surface has a hard edge that slices the rubber and belts. If you see these symptoms, get (or have your car towed)  to a repair shop immediately.

A really deep pothole can make your car bottom out and possibly tear a hole in your exhaust system, including the pipes, muffler and/or catalytic converter, although most aren’t deep enough for that to happen.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com

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