Saturday, 29 December 2018


How potholes form

Potholes are road imperfections that occur when the ground which is compacted under the road, is weakened or displaced. In winter and spring months, roads are particularly likely to make potholes when ice and lots of running water destroy the ground layers below the pavement. As cars drive over these vulnerabilities, the pavement, cracks, and spalling deforms to leave a hole in the road surface. Potholes start small, but grow with increasing traffic and may become deep or big enough to damage a car.

What to check if you hit a pothole

If you drive through a pothole, check these five areas to
make sure you have not caused a problem that needs to be fixed:

1. Tires:

The tires are the only part of your car that touches the road, so it is not a surprise that they are susceptible to damage from potholes, such as bulges in the side walls, separation of the tread or floors. This can happen because bumps often have a hard edge that compresses the tire against the wheel at the moment of impact, cutting the rubber or breaking the straps that hold a tire. Driving with a broken tire is not safe, but you may be able to repair it. However, a tire with a side bubble or a separate tread should be replaced immediately. Cars with low profile tires are particularly prone to damage from potholes. Make sure your tires are always properly inflated to help prevent these types of problems. 

2. Wheels:

Scraping your tires never looks good, but even the worst rash on the curb cannot damage a wheel like a bump does. The hard angles in the potholes apply impact force to the wheels in ways that were not designed to handle, leading to curves, splinters or cracks. A bent wheel does not turn smoothly and may not be able to form a tight seal with a tire. The chips are usually easy to notice since they look like a missing piece on the tire where the tire is located. However, cracks can be subtle fractures of the hairline along the circumference of the wheel or on one of the spokes. Brake dust and dirt from the road can make cracks difficult to detect, so clean the wheels thoroughly and perform an inspection to check. Bent wheels can sometimes be repaired, but splintered or cracked wheels can fail catastrophically and must be replaced completely.

3. Suspension:

The car's suspension is designed to absorb impacts and provide a smooth ride, but there is a limit to how much you can handle. Sudden bumps against potholes can cause a variety of suspension problems, including misalignment, broken ball joints and damaged struts. The suspension bent out of alignment can usually be put in place by a qualified mechanic, but until it is fixed, you may notice that the steering wheel is not centered, that your car is moving in one direction, that the steering is loosened and that the tires wear unevenly. Unusual vibrations and sounds, errant steering, poor handling quality or tilting of the vehicle to one side may indicate broken ball joints, struts or shock absorbers, which generally must be replaced completely. It can be difficult to correctly diagnose suspension damage, so it is best for an experienced mechanic to inspect the entire system if you notice any of these symptoms.

4. Exhaust:

Since the exhaust pipes run along the undercarriage of a car, they are a perfect target for the bumps that lurk on the road. Deep potholes can cause a car to hit bottom and scrape the undercarriage against the pavement, which could dent or tear a hole in the exhaust pipes, muffler or catalytic converter. You may experience a loss of energy or unpleasant noises if there is a hole in your exhaust system, but perhaps worse is the fact that your car will throw harmful pollution out of control. In addition, a leaky pipeline can allow the exhaust gases to enter the cabin, posing a potentially serious health hazard.
5. Body:

In general terms, the lower the car is to the ground, the better it is handled, but the cars that sacrifice steering height in search of sportsmanship are more likely to be damaged by potholes. In addition to the problems listed above, bumps can scrape bumpers or side skirts. While this type of damage is usually cosmetic and does not affect safety or performance, it is still something that drivers who care about the appearance of their car want to avoid. If you drive a low and sporty car, use your sharp handling to maneuver safely around the potholes you see.

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