One fact most people have realized about life, in general, is: that it doesn’t go as planned – there are going to be obstacles.
That also applies to driving. As a car owner, you may face new obstacles every day, but before that happens, you need to take proactive measures.
Likewise, you need to know what to do after.
In this case, you are about to discover the effect of pothole damage on your car’s suspension system.
What happens when a pothole meets your car tires?
When you encounter a pothole on the road, different parts of your vehicle could be affected. The tires are definitely one of the first things that will experience problems.
Potholes can cause tire damage as it punctures the sidewall. It could also cause a bent rim, a cracked wheel, or damaged shocks and struts.
What damage can a pothole do to a car?
Even in first-world countries, paved roads aren’t always guaranteed. The road may have been damaged by a number of factors, making it impossible for cars to move freely.
Two of the many road deterioration cases are potholes and rough patches. They affect your car significantly.
Some of the things you are likely to experience are:
- Wrecked suspension system
- Premature wear and tear on your shocks and struts
- Flat tire or bent rim
- Exhaust system damage
- Engine damage
- Poor steering system alignment
How is your suspension affected?
If the tire sidewalls are affected, you may only spend little – just getting new tires. However, if the suspension system is damaged, you might find yourself spending so much on repair – sometimes, even getting a replacement.
The reason for this is that:
There are several suspension components working hand-in-hand to enable good driving performance and improve ride quality.
Now, when there is suspension damage due to potholes, these components (such as the arm and tie rod) may have vertical and horizontal forces colliding, causing them to bend or break.
However, some parts like shocks and struts do not get damaged immediately. They do if you keep driving on damaged, rough, or bumpy roads consistently.
Signs your suspension’s been damaged
If your car’s suspension has experienced pothole damage, here are the signs that would follow.
Uneven tire wear
The first thing you will notice is uneven tire wear because the suspension system consists of wheel rims and tires.
If there isn’t proper wheel alignment, there is a ripple effect on the tire tread. It keeps wearing down in spots, scallops, or patches.
Finally, you will experience uneven wear on the tyres as the suspension isn’t holding your vehicle’s weight properly.
Steering wheel vibrations
One of the many ways to tell if your car has a problem or not is from the steering wheel. If there is a strange vibration from the steering wheel, it is possible that the suspension is faulty or the tires are not balanced. If it is the latter, it is because the wheels are badly aligned.
Steering and Suspension Issues
When a car hits a pothole constantly, it would no doubt lead to steering and suspension issues.
These issues include your car pulling, improper handling, or drifting every time.
If you are using high-end SUVs, you may have a warning light feature that turns on indicating there is a problem with your vehicle.
For anyone driving with square wheels, another sign that your suspension is experiencing pothole damage is a bumpy ride.
You will notice excessive bouncing as you drive on the road because the shocks and struts are faulty.
These components are designed to be shock absorbers but they stop working if worn out because of potholes.
The shocks are built specially. They contain oil that aids the ultimate performance of your suspension assembly. However, if the shocks are leaking, there is definitely a problem with the vehicle’s suspension.
Notice any fluid under the wheels? Then, the shocks are worn out and need to be replaced.
Sinking Vehicle Frame
Most times, people have their car lowered to enable good contact with the ground. When that happens, the frame looks sunken.
However, in a situation where you didn’t lower it, the frame starts looking sunken. This happens because the suspension springs are broken. As a matter of fact, it is accompanied by clunking sounds.
As your car keeps bouncing unnecessarily, it becomes hard to control it due to bad suspension.
Another sign is that you will end up with a difficult-to-control vehicle that is less comfortable.
In short, ride quality becomes compromised if there is something wrong with any part of your car, including those for mobility.
Can damaged suspension be repaired?
If there is a problem with your suspension system, the first thing that comes to mind is whether to repair or replace it since the components are made of aluminum, forged steel, or cast steel materials.
Well, the honest truth is: if there is damage caused to the suspension, you shouldn’t repair or straighten it. If you do, you could experience alignment issues or serious damage.
The best thing is to replace the damaged parts.
So, in a bid to save money, you shouldn’t make wrong decisions.
Best way to take suspension damaged from a pothole?
If you have bent wheels or flat tires often, or anything else described that there is a damaged suspension because you hit a pothole, the best way to take it is to visit a mechanic shop immediately.
Mechanics have tools to fix pothole damage (if they can). They also offer professional advice on how to avoid this problem in the future.
How To Minimize Pothole Damage
After identifying the common signs of pothole damage, knowing how to minimize the issue is consequential. The following are tips on how to overcome the situation.
The most effective way to minimize the issue is by conducting a thorough inspection.
If you notice your car moving in one direction (or one side) when you are going the other or excessive bouncing while driving, suspecting the wheel assembly isn’t a bad idea, especially if you recently encountered a pothole.
You should park your vehicle safely and check the tyres and suspension parts.
If you notice uneven tire wear, underinflated tyres, or weakened belts, you should have a certified technician check it out.
Observe The Road
Another way to avoid causing problems to your vehicle is to observe the road properly. You should always look ahead so you don’t hit a pothole that could damage your car.
In the same vein, you should stay alert and look at the road clearly – avoid distractions whatsoever.
If you find a pothole while observing, take quick calculations on how to avoid it so that your car won’t be affected.
You can swerve around it smartly while making sure you don’t collide with another car or endanger people on the road.
Watch Out For Puddles
Puddles are another type of pothole. You should do well to avoid them also so your car doesn’t develop issues.
Puddles are deep potholes. They cause more serious damage to your car than anything else. They also stain your car because they are potholes filled with muddy water.
If the water enters some parts of your car’s wheel system, it may rust gradually and become ineffective.
If you cannot avoid potholes because of how the road is, the best thing for you to do is to slow down.
Most people ignore their speed limits when they encounter potholes and that isn’t right. Hitting potholes at high speed puts the tyres, wheels, and suspensions at great risk.
Thus, to reduce or minimize this risk, you should release the brakes before you hit the pothole and allow the wheel and tyre to roll smoothly over the obstacle.
What is the best way to drive over a pothole if you can’t swerve around it?
If you cannot swerve around a pothole, for safety, you should drive over it slowly – at lower speeds. Doing this will minimize potential damage to vehicles.
When you hit a pothole, there is so much damage it does to your car than you realize – it could affect your exhaust system and engine. Therefore, it is important to look out for any of the signs mentioned above.
While you look out for these signs, you should have a certified technician inspect your car regularly.
And apart from seeking professional advice, you could get more info on concerns relating to mobility in cars.
Overall, you should invest in car maintenance.