Remember having the wind knocked out of you when you when you were young? Maybe you fell off a swing in mid-air or maybe your buddy laughingly slid off his end of the seesaw when he was down and you were up. POW! That’s the kind of jolt your car feels when one wheel hits a pothole at 40 mph, and if your vehicle’s springs and shocks are weak, you probably felt it in your back too. Yes, Old Man Winter is here and it is the season for potholes.
These cold Michigan winters take their toll on our roads each year and the rough roads take their toll on your pocketbook in terms of wear and tear on your vehicle. Tires, springs, shock absorbers and other under-car parts damaged as a result of rough road conditions, cost the average vehicle owner $143 per year according to T.R.I.P., the road information program.
To minimize the damage from potholes be sure your tires are properly inflated and that your vehicle’s suspension parts are in good condition. Worn shock absorbers afford little protection against an encounter with a rut or pothole. All under-car parts are more likely to survive the impact if they are up to the task.
Also, don’t treat your car like the drivers in the TV commercials that pound their vehicles over rocks and other obstacles. Instead, be on the look out and slow down BEFORE impacting deep ruts. Releasing the brake BEFORE you hit one allows the wheel to roll rather than lock up when it drops into the hole.
Finally, if you think the impact may have caused some trauma underneath your vehicle, take it to a professional for closer look. Express Auto Sales and Service Technicians are trained to spot areas of concern before they leave you stranded on the highway or with an enormous repair bill. It is not unusual for a tire to be cut, a CV boot punctured or a sidewall bruised. Your suspension parts, such as shock absorbers and springs, and your vehicle’s wheel alignment, are also very vulnerable to our Michigan spring potholes.
Winter is upon us, here in Michigan, so keep your eyes peeled for those potholes. Spotting them in advance will allow you to slow down BEFORE you hit them and minimize the damage to your vehicle.