You may have already noticed while you’re driving around town this spring – it’s pothole season. As winter snow and ice starts to melt and refreeze underneath the pavement, potholes begin to form on the surface. Potholes are a nuisance on the road and a hazard for Minnesota drivers. We can avoid potholes by slowing down and paying attention to the road while driving, but every once in a while, potholes are unavoidable. Potholes can definitely cause damage to your car each spring. If you’ve been wondering what kind of damage to look for, we’re unpacking some areas to inspect after running into that pesky pothole.

Pothole damage to the Tires & Wheels

Tires take the brunt of the impact when you inadvertently run into that pothole. The first and most obvious damage we tend to see is a flat tire. While flat tires are a sign of damage to your car, it’s also best to check all four tires for internal tire damage. Running into a pothole can break the interior structure or sidewall of your tire which can lead to blowouts while driving if left undetected. Look for bulges or bubbles on all four tires to ensure there is no interior damage.

Your wheels can also sustain damage especially if your tires are not inflated properly. Wheels can bend, crack, or even break upon impact, making them an important part of your vehicle to check after hitting a pothole. Repair options tend to be limited for wheels, so you may need to ask your mechanic about replacing any that are damaged.

Suspension & Alignment after hitting a Pothole

Your suspension system can take a hit when you drive over that pothole as well. Parts like your suspension arm or tie rod are susceptible to breaking. In addition, running into that pothole can knock these systems out of alignment. If you notice that your car is pulling to one side or the other while driving, shaking when you drive at high speeds, bring it in. You may also notice it keeps bouncing for a while after you’ve hit that bump, then it may be time to have your suspension and alignment looked at. Neglecting poor alignment can cause tires to wear unevenly or wear out prematurely, which can lead to safety issues while driving around town. If you’ve hit a pothole recently, it’s always a good idea to have your mechanic inspect your suspension system for damage.

Shock Absorbers

Driving into a pothole can also cause damage to your shock absorbers. These can break on impact. Your shock absorbers were designed to ensure a smoother ride, and better vehicle handling. When damaged, you may notice nose diving when braking, wheel vibrations, and leaking fluid. You can also test your shock absorbers by pushing down hard on the front corner of your vehicle 2-3 times. If your car continues to bounce several times after you stop pushing, schedule an appointment with us.

Exhaust System

Last but not least, your exhaust system can be damaged when you drive into a pothole. The impact with a pothole can cause your exhaust system to break loose or bend. Some signs of a broken or damaged exhaust include strange noises coming from your backend. It may also have decreased power and acceleration, and decreased fuel efficiency. If you notice any of these symptoms after driving through a pothole, it’s best to make an appointment so your mechanic can take a look.

While no one wants to hit a pothole, some potholes are unavoidable as you drive around this spring. If you happen to unexpectedly hit one, our team is ready to inspect your vehicle for any damage. This will ensure that your family is safe wherever the road may take you.