The Dangers of Potholes


Pothole season is here on the roads. If you are unlucky enough to drive through a large pothole or series of potholes, your vehicle may suffer from the damages left by the wet weather. In this month’s blog, we look at ways to keep your vehicle safe from these unforgiving damaged roads.



What are potholes?

Potholes are holes that form in the road and can cause damage to cars and bikes. Potholes can come in a variety of sizes, but generally they are just big enough to be a nuisance and cause damage when cars drive over them. Potholes form when water trapped under the road’s surface expands and contracts over time due to temperature changes. When water under the surface freezes and expands it can structurally weaken the road above it. When the ice melts and contracts that weakened tarmacadam can collapse and thus, a pothole is formed.


The Damaging Effects of Potholes

Potholes wreak havoc on your vehicle’s tyres, alignment, and suspension components. The trick is to steer clear of them as much as possible, but sometimes they are unavoidable. If you find yourself driving through a large pothole, don’t brake hard. This will only cause more possible damage. Stay alert to the road ahead, and make sure to always inspect your vehicle or look for signs that there may be damage if you have driven through a large pothole.


Tyres

Your vehicle’s tyres endure significant wear and tear on the road. Potholes can be very damaging to the sidewalls of your tyres. The force of a pothole can sometimes be enough to shift the air in the tyre and cause a blowout of the sidewall. If you notice a bulge on the sidewall, or your tyre monitoring system indicates a loss of air shortly after driving through a pothole, it’s a good idea to get the tyre checked out. Unfortunately, sidewall damage is not easily repairable, and tyres will need to be replaced.



Alignment

Proper wheel alignment is what keeps your vehicle driving straight and allows you to safely manoeuvre the road. When your vehicle hits a pothole, it can cause the alignment of a wheel to shift, creating a problem for the overall vehicle alignment. You may notice the vehicle pulling to one side, or changes in the steering when your vehicle is not aligned. Uneven wear on the tyres is also a sign that there is an alignment issue.

Alignment is easily repaired, so make sure to have it checked sooner than later. As you continue to drive your vehicle with misalignment, you will only create further damage to the tyres and suspension of your vehicle, resulting in costly repairs.


Suspension

Potholes can affect your vehicle’s suspension system in various ways too. The suspension provides a cushion between the vehicle cabin and the road. When you hit a pothole, it may result in damage to your shocks (which absorb and dampen energy from the road), or your springs (which control the height and weight of the vehicle cabin). If you start to notice bouncing, bottoming out, or unusual noises during turns, then you may have a developing suspension issue. Get it checked out by Nolan Motors to ensure that your vehicle remains safe and stabilized on the road.



Stay alert while driving this time of year, and always be attentive to any changes in your vehicle after running through potholes. Early detection of problems is important to minimizing your vehicle’s damage and costly repairs.


If you want to have your vehicle checked for pothole damage, give the service professionals at Nolan Motors Balbriggan a call to schedule an appointment.


Report potholes and road damage to Fingal County Council customercareunit@fingal.ie