Posted January 30, 2014
This Grand Rapids winter season has been treacherous. Not only has the weather made travel difficult, but plenty of vehicles have been damaged in the process. In fact, your car may have damage you don’t even know about. Just as potholes can be unseen on snow-covered roads, problems with your vehicle can also go unnoticed.
Here are 5 ways to tell if your car is suffering from pothole damage:
1. Tire problems
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. Even if a flat isn’t obvious, your tire’s sidewall may have a bulge or a small, slow-leaking puncture. Both problems need to be addressed while the car is still drivable.
2. Bent rims
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 higher the likelihood that you bent your tire rim. Be sure to also check the inside lip of the wheel for damage.
3. Bottoming out
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 not properly maintained.
4. Undercarriage leaks
Hitting a pothole can cause damage to your undercarriage as well. You may be unaware after a quick 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, you may want an auto repair mechanic to inspect underneath your car. If you hit a large pothole, this will help you avoid any bigger problems that may arise.
5. Strange noises
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, bring it to Veenstra’s for a 22-point inspection as soon as you can.