Potholes occur when water permeates the pavement, usually through a crack, and softens the soil beneath it, creating a depression in the surface of the street. Many potholes appear during winter & spring months b cause of freeze-thaw cycles, which accelerate the process. Potholes can also be prevalent in areas with excessive rainfall & flooding. Hitting a pothole with your car can do a real number on tires, wheels, steering & suspension, and alignment. The non-profit Car Care Council urges motorists to watch for three warning signs to help determine if hitting a pothole has damaged their vehicle.

  1. Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads are indicators that the steering & suspension may have been damaged. The steering & suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine a vehicle’s ride & handling.
  2. Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear, are symptoms of an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires & helps ensure safe handling.
  3. Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the wheel rim will be visible & should be checked out as soon as possible, as tires are the critical connection between the vehicle & the road.

“If you’ve hit a pothole, it can be difficult to know if & to what extent your car has been damaged,” says Rich White, Executive Director, the Car Care Council. “It’s a good idea to describe the symptoms to a professional technician who can then check out the vehicle & make the necessary repairs to ensure safety & reliability.”

To learn more, view the “Dangers of Potholes” below

This Car Care Council video explains the perils of potholes & how they can adversely affect a vehicle’s handling & performance.


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