This Grand Rapids winter season has been treacherous so far. Not only has the weather made travel very difficult and nerve-wracking, but plenty of vehicles have been damaged in the process. Your car may have damage you don’t even know about. Just as potholes can be unseen on snow-covered roads, the damage they cause to a vehicle can go unnoticed. Here are five ways to tell if your car has pothole damage.
1. The first and most obvious sign you have pothole damage is your tires. If you’ve hit a dent in the street, inspect your car right away. If it isn’t obvious you have a flat already, your tire’s sidewall may have a bulge or you may have a small, slow-leaking puncture. Both problems need to be addressed while the car is still drivable.
2. Bent rims are another sign that you hit that pothole a little harder than you thought. Most newer cars have aluminum-based rims, where older models could have steel rims. The harder you hit that hole, the more likely it is that you bent your tire rim. Be sure to check the inside lip of the wheel for damage also.
3. If you feel your car swaying when turning or “bottoming out” when you hit a bump, it
may mean problems with your shocks or struts. Shocks and struts absorb the bounce
of your car as it drives down the road. They act as a cushion so your car doesn’t drive
like a bouncing ball. Potholes can prematurely wear down shocks and struts and make
your next pothole experience even worse if they are not properly maintained.
4. Hitting a pothole can cause damage to your undercarriage as well. You may be unaware after a quick damage check, but potholes can cause leaks and tears to all those pipes underneath your car. Even if you don’t see any problems with your own eyes, if you hit a large pothole, you may want an auto repair mechanic to inspect underneath your car to avoid any bigger problems that may arise.
5. Finally, and this is an easy one, if your car is making any sort of odd noise after hitting a
pothole, take it in for inspection. The hole could have nicked your exhaust system.
Bottom line – potholes can cause damage to your vehicle that you may not be able to see. Some damage is quite obvious; a flat tire or a loud noise. But to save your car from the woes of pothole damage, take it into your Grand Rapids auto repair mechanic for an inspection as soon as you can after you’ve hit one.