Watch that Spot: Dangers of Potholes | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Watch that Spot: Dangers of Potholes

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If you’re someone who drives right through potholes without moving to miss them, you could be risking costly damage to your vehicle. Potholes are areas of road that have cracked overtime and turned into a hole. Hitting these holes, no matter how large or small, can put you at risk for damaging your tires and more. 

What is a Pothole?

A pothole is something that develops naturally on the road due to a few different factors. Over time, high traffic roads can weaken as more and more tires drive over them. The friction of the tires heats up the surface of the road and causes it to expand, Wonderopolis explains. As this happens, this expansion can cause cracks in the road, allowing water to come through the cracks. 

When the weather is cold, the freeze/thaw cycle can cause those cracks to turn into potholes quickly. When water from rain or snow goes through those original cracks, it can freeze when temperatures drop. When water freezes, it expands. After this happens, it can push up against the pavement from underneath. When the weather warms up, the water will melt leaving larger cracks than were originally there. These larger cracks, also known as divots, can form underneath the top layer of pavement and become potholes. When a car drives over a divot, the weight from the vehicle can push the top layer of pavement into the space created by the divot, leaving a hole in the street: thus a pothole is formed. 

Why are Potholes Bad for Cars? 

Most of us have accidentally ran over a pothole before. You know the feeling, where you are driving on a smooth road and then you suddenly feel a rough impact that causes the entire car to rattle. Geico explains the way that potholes can negatively impact your car: 

Tires

When you hit a pothole, your tires are what is affected the most. If the force is great enough, the pothole can cause your tires to blow out. If the impact causes your tire to lose air, you should immediately see a warning light go on. Pay attention to this and get your tires looked at before driving any further. There could be internal damage, damage to the tread, or even damage to the sidewall of the tire — just from hitting one pothole. 

Wheels 

The hard edges of a pothole can also cause damage to the wheel of the tire. The first thing to look for, Geico explains, is for bends or cracks in the side of the wheel where the rim meets the tire. If a wheel is bent, it won’t spin smoothly. Further, the seal between the tire and the wheel could be compromised. 

Suspension and Steering

After you hit a pothole, you might notice that your car begins to pull either to the right or to the left. This is because the pothole might have bent one or more suspension and steering components out of line. Driving in misalignment will make it more difficult for you to steer, but it will also wear your tires unevenly and cause them to go bad prematurely. If you hit a pothole and notice the pull, get your alignment checked as soon as you’re able. 

Call Scott’s Auto

For all of your alignment and repair needs, whether you ran over a pothole or not, call Scott’s Auto. Now with four convenient locations, we’re here to serve you and the areas of: Fort Collins, Loveland, Montrose, and Grand Junction. You can give us a heads up that you’re stopping by, or you can just come on in. We’re here for you! 

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