5 Tips to Help You and Your Car Survive Pothole Season
There are so many things to look forward to when winter is almost at its end and spring is right around the corner. But even when the snow, ice, and cold of winter is in your rearview mirror, the season often leaves behind aggravating reminders of its impact, especially on our New England roadways. Wintry weather patterns, like the frequent freezing and thawing of water under the pavement, often lead to cracking of a road’s surface. As a constant stream of vehicles crosses over these cracks, small debris can break away from the pavement and, ultimately, result in a pothole.
If your vehicle encounters one of these dreaded mini canyons on the road, you could end up with a popped tire; a mangled rim; or damage to your vehicle’s shocks and struts, suspension components, steering system, and more. It can be not only annoying but also costly to have to get any of these items fixed or replaced.
So, how can you do your best to avoid a run-in with a pothole and an unplanned trip to the auto repair shop? Below are five tips from the Bearingstar team that may help protect you, your vehicle, and your wallet from a pothole nightmare:
1. Keep Your Eyes on the Road Ahead
If possible, you want to avoid letting a pothole in the road sneak up on you. This starts with focusing on the road in front of you and trying to spot any potholes before you’re right on top of one. What are some of the things you might want to look out for?
Puddles are often deep potholes in disguise, so don’t let them fool you. Always drive very cautiously through a puddle. In addition, if you see other vehicles ahead of you that are swerving out of their lane, there’s a pretty good chance they are trying to avoid something in the road. If you think there might be a hazard like a pothole up ahead, try to determine if it would be smart to move to another lane, if you’re better off trying to straddle the pothole, or if you can go around it without endangering others on the road.
2. Properly Inflate Your Tires
Keeping your tires properly inflated may help reduce the risk of damage to your car from potholes—plus, it can also improve your gas mileage. It is a good idea to check your tire pressure regularly to ensure it stays at your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure level throughout all types of weather.
3. Get Signs of Wheel Misalignment Checked Right Away
When your wheels are misaligned, it can cause your vehicle to continuously pull to one side, which can pose a danger to you and others on the road. In addition, when wheels are out of alignment, it makes steering more difficult and may hinder your ability to avoid a pothole, as well as anything else in the roadway. If you notice any signs of wheel misalignment, it is typically worth the minimal cost to have your car serviced as soon as possible.
4. Regularly Inspect Your Suspension
Similar to wheel misalignment, a damaged suspension system can make it more difficult to navigate away from potholes. In addition, if you hit a pothole when you’re already having issues with your suspension, it may increase the likelihood—and severity—of damage to your vehicle. To make sure your struts, shock absorbers, and suspension parts are in good working order, you should have them regularly checked by a professional mechanic and take your car into the shop if you sense any changes in vehicle handling, excessive vibration, or uneven tire wear.
5. Invest in High-Quality Shock Absorbers
Shock absorbers are small-ish car parts that play a vital role in protecting you, your passengers, and your car’s suspension from the bumps and vibrations of the road, including the jolting impact of hitting a pothole. For New Englanders who frequently drive on roads with potholes, it can be well worth the investment to ensure your vehicle is outfitted with the best shock absorbers available for your specific car or truck.
What If I Can’t Avoid a Pothole?
With potholes so common on our Massachusetts and Connecticut roadways, it is not going to be an easy task to avoid every single one of them. If you must take your car right through one, there are some safer ways to do so, including reducing your speed and avoiding heavy braking, which compresses the front suspension and may cause your wheel to go down into the pothole instead of gliding over it.
In addition, it’s strongly recommended that you always have a well-maintained spare tire onboard just in case you do get a pothole-related flat (or a flat for any other reason).
If your car does end up encountering a pothole, your car insurance may include coverage to help you pay for the resulting damages. The Bearingstar team invites you to contact us today so you can better understand your policy, including what it may or may not cover if your vehicle hits a pothole.
Our Massachusetts team can be reached by calling 877-801-7424, or you can talk to a Connecticut Bearingstar professional by calling 888-519-9996. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you in getting the car and other personal insurance coverages you need to protect what’s most important to you.