AAA estimates pothole damage costs U.S. drivers $3 billion in vehicle repairs each year. Minimize their effect on your car and learn how to bounce back after you hit one with this advice from AAA’s Car Doctor John Paul.
Slow your Roll
The best way to avoid a pothole is to swerve around it, but that’s not always an option. If you’re going to strike one, slow down and release the brake right before making impact. This should help lift the vehicle’s nose out of harm’s way.
Slowing down and having tires with good treads and the right amount of air pressure should help, but if a tire blows out, don’t panic. Reduce your speed by slowly lifting your foot off the accelerator. Turn on your hazard lights and, when you can, pull over to the side of the road. Don’t get out of the car until it’s safe to do so.
What’s the damage?
If your tire is still intact, but the impact felt or sounded bad, look for the following on the wheels and undercarriage.
• Bubbles on the sidewall of the tires.
• Bent rims.
• A leaky oil or transmission fluid pan.
• Broken exhaust or catalytic converter brackets.
• Damaged tie rods, control arms and ball joints.
Any of these would require a repair. There may also be damage to your shocks or struts and your wheels could have been knocked out of alignment. If you think your car was damaged, have it inspected by a certified automotive technician, Paul said.