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FERGUSON Auto repair

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Oh, Those Annoying Potholes

Over the winter, the cold temperatures and weather can cause some significant damage to the surface of the roads. Potholes will form when the soil under the pavement becomes weak or displaced. Ice and running water can disrupt the soil under the pavement, thus resulting in a pothole. When a vehicle drives over these spots, the pavement will start to crack and chip away. All potholes start small, but will grow into larger ones as traffic increases.

If you hit a pothole, it can end up causing you a lot more money and time if you do not have it checked as soon as possible. There are several areas that you should have checked. This includes shocks, struts, front and rear suspension components, tires, and the alignment of the tires. Since the tires are the only part of the vehicle that touch the road, they are the most prone to damage. This can include tread separation, flat tires, or sidewall bulges.  As you hit the pot hole, the tire makes impact and it may slice the rubber. You may also experience air loss from the tire as well. 

Along with the tires, the wheels should be inspected. If you hit the pothole at a hard angle and with force, you can end up bending or cracking the wheel. A bent wheel will result in an uneven ride or vibration at higher road speeds. A chip in the wheel can easily be noticed as some of the rim is missing where it meets the tire. Cracks in the wheels can more difficult to spot. If the crack is ignored too long, it can result in the crack becoming larger and may ruin the wheel. The wheel will then need to be replaced. It’s always best to have the vehicle properly inspected after hitting an extra deep pothole.

The suspension of the vehicle can also become damaged after hitting a pothole. The suspension absorbs impacts to help provide a smooth ride. If you hit a pothole suddenly and with force, the suspension components can become damaged. Misalignment, broken ball joints, damaged shocks, and broken struts can all occur if you are losing the battle with the potholes in the roads. You may notice an alignment problem based on how the vehicle is steering. If it is off center, then there is an issue. You may also start to notice your vehicle pulls strongly to the right or left. Also, you could notice the handling may feel loose when driving. Any odd sounds, vibrations, or bumpy rides can be a sign the suspension has problems. 

Always use caution when driving, and especially in the Spring. You will want to avoid the potholes, but if you happen to hit one, try to slow down and go over it as carefully as possible. To help keep your ride smooth and comfortable, schedule an appointment at Robinwood so we can make sure your vehicle is safe and reliable! 

Our cars need to be road worthy, even if our roads aren’t car worthy.

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