Singing The Pothole Blues

1 03 2012

Dale BertramQ:  Do rough roads and potholes affect my car?
A:  Potholes and rough roads really take their toll on your car’s suspension, steering and alignment.  Your car’s suspension holds the entire weight of your vehicle, plus passengers and any other items you are hauling around in it.  On average, a vehicle has well over a ton of weight bearing down on the suspension system. A recent study showed the average driver spends $385.00 per year due to poor road condition.

Q:  Does this happen quickly?
A:  Rough roads speed up the deterioration process of springs, shocks, tie rod ends, idler arms and control arm bushings, body, engine, exhaust and transmission mounts.  They simply wear out over time.  Sometimes, the suspension and steering components wear out so gradually that we don’t really notice.  We just change our driving habits to compensate for the different handling of our vehicle.  This is why the primary driver can’t always be relied upon to realize there is, in fact, a problem.

Q:  How does this affect the safety of my vehicle?
A:  The accuracy of your car’s steering and suspension is nearly as important to your safety as a well-maintained brake system. The result of hitting a pothole significantly reduces steering control, causes steering wheel vibrations and unusual noises.  Weak shocks or struts permit excessive rebound of your wheels, allowing them to become airborne.  A vehicle with worn shock absorbers is more susceptible to undercarriage damage.  When you notice this happening the car should be checked out immediately. A loose tie rod end can break causing you to lose steering control.  If your vehicle sways on turns, doesn’t feel balanced when you accelerate or brake, bounces or bottoms out, you may need to replace your vehicle’s shocks or struts.  Worn shocks or struts increase the wear of tires, ball joints, steering linkage, springs and C.V. joints.  For best control and handling, always replace your shocks or struts in pairs or sets of four.

Q:  Potholes and rough roads can be hazardous to my finances then?
A:  Again, if you have a complete suspension, steering and undercarriage inspection at least once a year you will save your vehicle and money as well.  One of the symptoms of hitting a pothole is poor wheel alignment.  By getting your wheels aligned after an altercation with a pothole you will save money in tire replacement.

Q: What can I do to limit damage?
A:  Try your best to avoid potholes, curbs, or other obstructions.  However, if you and your vehicle become entangled in an obstruction, take your vehicle to your car care facility for a close inspection of its underneath and check your tires and other components for damage or wear.

Happy Motoring,

 

 

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