How to Avoid Damage to Your Car From Potholes

Potholes on a winding road in winter.

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Potholes are a part of life. They are caused by the normal freezing and thawing any water underneath the roads experience as well as the wear and tear of constant vehicle travel — but no one likes to hit them with their car. In addition to making for an uncomfortable ride, potholes can actually damage your car if they’re large enough. How can you avoid this if running over a pothole or two is unavoidable during your daily commute? Here’s how to avoid damage from potholes in four simple steps.

Slow Down

Driving the speed limit a good idea — unless there are large potholes on the highway. Hitting a pothole at high speeds can damage your tires, your rims, your suspension or even your engine and exhaust if you hit the road hard enough.

If you can’t avoid the pothole or straddle it between your tires, slow down as much as is safely possible and then release the brakes before you hit it. Don’t put yourself or other drivers in danger by slowing down, but the slower you can hit the pothole, the less damage you will potentially do to your car.

Keep Your Tires Inflated

A flat tire or one with low tire pressure isn’t just bad for your car’s gas mileage. It can also make it more likely that hitting a pothole will pop your tire or damage your rims.

A properly inflated tire acts like a shock absorber for your rims. It won’t prevent damage if you hit the pothole at high speeds or if you hit a particularly deep one, but it can help keep your car safer from the occasional pothole you might encounter on the road.

Keep an Eye on What’s Ahead

You should be watching the road in front of you anyway, but not just so you don’t run into anything. With enough notice, you might be able to avoid a pothole. Take note of the traffic around you, however, so you don’t swerve into someone.

It’s also a good idea to watch the other cars and see how the road is affecting them. Bumpy roads and potholes will cause the cars in front of you to bounce up and down. Stay far enough back, though, so you can still have enough time to react to whatever is causing their cars to bounce.

Keep Your Roads Maintained

This might not apply to you, but if you have a business or a building with a parking lot that can be used by customers or employees, keeping it maintained can be the best way to prevent pothole damage.

Inspect your parking lot or local roads frequently and repair any cracks or potholes promptly. If you’re not able to do the repairs yourself, it’s time to bring in a professional. If you’re calling a pro anyway, consider having your parking lot treated with seal coating or crack sealing treatments. These can stop small cracks from becoming big ones and can make your parking lot last longer. It will save you money in the long run by increasing the time between necessary maintenance.

Potholes might be a normal part of life, but you don’t have to let them damage your car. Be careful when you’re driving — slow down if you have to hit a pothole and avoid them if you can. Now you know how to avoid damage from potholes and keep your car in good shape.

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