Has a Pothole Damaged Your Car? Here’s What You Need to Know
There’s nothing worse than hitting a pothole. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of them about on country roads as of late and, especially if you are a commuter, it is stressful not knowing when they will be repaired. In the UK alone, nearly a million potholes were notified in 2017/18 and the situation doesn’t seem to have improved much in 2019.
If the road in question isn’t a main thoroughfare, councils can often leave it unrepaired for weeks, if not months, which causes issues for those of us that use these roads regularly.
Potholes are normally caused when water gets into gaps or splits in the tarmac causing an indentation to form. As more vehicles pass over it, the damage gets worse, often breaking chunks away and exposing the rough ground beneath.
If you’ve been jarred as you hit a pothole, it might not just be your teeth that take a shake either. Even a relatively shallow hole can cause damage to the tyres, suspension, steering and alignment of your car. It might have only a slight effect when you are driving along but the damage can often get worse as time passes.
Here are a couple of things to look out for after hitting a pothole:
Your steering and suspension handle a lot of your car’s performance on the road and damage to these areas is a major safety issue. Check for things like having difficulty steering, the bottom of your car hitting or scraping the road beneath or if your car bounces excessively on uneven roads. This can be a subtle change but it’s important to do something about it as quickly as possible as it’s a sign your steering or suspension is damaged.
Steering problems can cause a number of issues. You might find your car pulling to one side when you hold the steering wheel loosely. This presents a serious safety issue, especially when travelling at higher speeds.
Your tyre pressure
Low tyre pressure because of damage can cause all sorts of problems so it’s important to check there is no other observable damage such as tears or bumps. Check the tyre pressure as soon as it is safe to do so.
Most people who hit a pothole won’t have much of a clue about how much damage has been caused. The majority of cars are able to handle minor bumps and collisions but anything more than that may certainly cause issues.
What To Do If You Hit a Pothole
If your car is jarred by an impact with a pothole, don’t assume that everything is okay once you get onto smoother road. When it’s safe to stop, pull over and give your vehicle a quick check over. If you notice that the steering or suspension has been affected, it’s vital that you understand your car may no longer be safe to drive.
If you do think damage has been caused, you need to get your car to a garage as soon as possible so that repairs can be carried out.