Freezing temperatures and icy roads might be on their way out, but they’re likely leaving potholes in their wake. You can avoid the stress of pothole damage and these aggravating road dangers with a few safe driving tips from your friends at Firestone Complete Auto Care! Plus, if the unfortunate does happen and you hit a pothole that simply couldn’t be avoided, we've highlighted six signs of potential damage for you to keep an eye out for.
Tips for Avoiding Potholes
These safe driving tips can help you expertly navigate around potholes:
Leave extra space between you and the car in front of you. If you’re driving bumper to bumper, you won’t be able to spot any potholes. Standard driver's ed wisdom states that you should leave at least three seconds of space between you and the car in front of you. Leaving an adequate amount of space between cars is not only part of being a safe driver, but it could also help you spot and avoid a pothole before it's too late.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Over-inflated or under-inflated tires are more likely to be damaged by hitting a pothole. Check your owner's manual for information about your vehicle's proper tire pressure, then make sure that your tires are inflated to match this recommendation. Stumped on how to do so? Your neighborhood Firestone Complete Auto Care can check and inflate your tires, free of charge.
Slow down. The slower you drive, especially down pothole-riddled streets, the more time you have to react. Give yourself a little extra time, especially during pothole season, and you’ll be giving your car a little extra TLC.
Avoid puddles. Puddles can be deceptively deep. You have no idea what lurks beneath the surface of that water! Rain often pools in potholes, and that hidden pothole could be a massive one. Use caution and avoid puddles altogether if possible.
Signs of Pothole Damage
If you find yourself jolted by an unforeseen pothole (surprise!), keep an eye out for these common signs of pothole damage:
The steering wheel seems off-center. If your steering wheel seems uneven after hitting a pothole, it very well might be. If you’re noticing this issue, the wheel alignment needs to be checked. Alternatively, it could mean the pothole caused some damage to a steering component.
You’re hearing weird noises. Strange car noises are never really a good sign, but after hitting a pothole it could mean that you’ve damaged something within your vehicle’s exhaust system. This calls for a vehicle inspection as soon as possible.
The steering wheel shakes. If your steering wheel is vibrating or shaking after hitting a pothole, you may have accidentally damaged a tire or rim. It could also mean that there is an issue with the wheel balance.
Your car pulls to one side. Does your car drift or lead to one side after the pothole collision? This most likely signals an alignment problem, which is common after encountering a particularly deep pothole.
Your car doesn’t handle the way it usually does. You know how your car drives. After all, it's practically your baby! You’re very familiar with how it handles and you're likely to notice if something feels “off.” If your ride seems bumpier than normal or if it simply drives differently, trust your instincts and get it checked out by one of our professional technicians.
You have a flat tire. This issue will make itself obvious, but it’s important that you do not try to drive on your flat! This can cause more extensive (and expensive) damage to your wheel. If you live in a particularly pothole prone region, you may want to consider investing in a set of DriveGuard tires for extra peace of mind. With these tires, you can drive up to 50 miles at speeds of up to 50 MPH, even after complete air loss.
If you’re noticing any of these red flags in your vehicle, don’t wait to get it checked out. These problems could worsen or cause more extensive damage over time. If your tire has taken a beating, head to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a new tire or tire repair. If you suspect a pothole has thrown off your car’s alignment or suspension, schedule an appointment at your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a free car inspection. Pothole damage happens, but it's no match for our expert technicians!