Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Have You Hit Any Potholes Lately?

The month of February usually brings various temperatures.  It might be freezing and snowing one week, and the next it will be sunny and 60 degrees.  With fluctuating temperatures come freezing and thawing, freezing and thawing.  The result...potholes!

Nobody likes a pothole, unless you are splashing in rain puddles.  However, your car definitely does not appreciate the sudden jolt it receives as you unknowingly (or sometimes knowingly, but nothing you can do) drive over the huge hole.  Sometimes the pothole seems to appear out of nowhere.

You may or may not be able to avoid hitting a pothole.  If you happen to hit one, the first item of business should be to pull over, just as you would in an accident.  Take a picture of the pothole, and then walk around your vehicle and inspect it. You are going to be looking for visual damage to the vehicle, tires or the rims.  If you can see damage, call a tow truck.  You don't want to add to the damage by driving it, if there's already a problem.

Call the non emergency police number to report and document the pothole. Inform them of any damages to your vehicle.  If you've hit the pot hole, chances are someone else has too.

If you don't see any damage, pay attention to the way your car handles as you drive it after hitting the pothole. The wheel alignment, tire balance, suspension and steering systems are sometimes damaged, and you may not be able to see it.  Here are some helpful warning signs to look for:
  • Is your steering off-center?  If so, have your wheel alignment checked.
  • Is your steering wheel shaking? If so, have your wheel balance checked.
  • Is your car pulling to one side?  You may have an alignment problem or component damage.
  • Is the car ride rough? You may have damaged springs, shocks, or struts.
It's always a good idea to have your car checked after hitting a pothole.  It's always better to be safe than sorry.

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