Imagine driving through a picturesque landscape enjoying the breeze when you feel your car jerk and jump. You hear that familiar sound of metal hitting the pavement. That’s when you realize you just hit a giant pothole. But how bad is hitting a pothole for our cars? How much damage can one pothole do to your vehicle, and what are the most vulnerable parts of your car when you hit a pothole? Why are potholes bad for your vehicle? Let’s take a look.
What is a pothole?
A pothole is a general term that refers to any depression in the road surface where traffic has removed broken pieces of the road. As a result, a hole is created on the road surface. Several things can cause potholes, but the most common culprits involve water in the underlying soil structure and heavy traffic passing over.
Hitting a pothole is not a rare thing. You probably hit a big one now and then, which does not mean you are a terrible driver. Sometimes we just can’t avoid potholes, whether due to other traffic on the road or pedestrians. Even seasoned drivers have their own pothole story.
While potholes are more prevalent in some areas with poor road construction, no street is immune to developing them, especially when the street regularly experiences heavy traffic. Even on miles of flat and even roads, a pothole can still appear out of nowhere.
Why are potholes bad for your car?
Potholes are bad news for your car, as hitting one can cause damage to your vehicle. The damage will depend on how hard you “hit” the pothole. The faster you are going, the more problems it can cause. That is why it is always wise to go slow in areas riddled with potholes. But what actual damage can potholes do? Let’s find out.
What kind of damage can potholes cause your car?
- Tire blowouts and wheel damage: In the worst cases of pothole encounters, you can see tires get split or punctured. This may result in a blowout and possible wheel damage. If you are going at a reasonably high speed during such an accident, you can end up losing control of your vehicle and veer into other cars or oncoming traffic.
- Misalignment of your steering system: When you hit a pothole hard, it can cause damage to your car’s steering system. The sheer force of the hit can cause a misalignment, which can then affect how well you can control the vehicle. This severely increases your chances of getting into an accident.
- Damage to the exhaust system: Some potholes are deep enough that your exhaust system scrapes or just crashes into the ground. The damage can be critical enough to affect your engine. A damaged exhaust system may also affect you and your passengers with carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Physical damage to your vehicle: If you hit a pothole hard enough, you will probably hear some scratches and thuds. This is your car hitting the road or ground below. Aside from causing problems to your exhaust, wheels, or steering system, hitting a pothole can also cause other physical damage to your car. Cars with shallow clearance are prominent victims of such accidents. For starters, your fenders and side skirts might get damaged when you hit a pothole.
Steer clear of potholes at all times
If you want to save yourself the trouble of worrying about the damage potholes can make on your car, you should steer clear of potholes as much as you can. You can do this by paying close attention to the road at all times and maintaining just enough speed so you can react to seeing a pothole. This is especially true if you are not familiar with the route you are going through.
If, despite your best efforts, you hit a pothole hard in Atlanta and you feel like your vehicle is experiencing some problems, give T3 Atlanta a call so we can have a look. Our team of expert mechanics can check your car to diagnose what’s wrong and what needs to be done to fix the problem. Give us a call and we’ll book you in for an appointment today!