Now that we are nearing the winter season, it is time to start worrying about potholes. These annoying holes in the road can cause major damage to our vehicle. Because potholes are the worst in spring, it is important to plan for them today. Understanding how and why to avoid potholes is an important part of vehicle maintenance in the Cache Valley. 

What are potholes?

First of all, let’s define potholes. Potholes are generally defined as holes in the road. They can be any size and shape. In fact, potholes can be caused by a variety of factors. But most often the cause is water. 

Potholes are generally formed by water that gets underneath the asphalt on a road. In the winter that water freezes. When water freezes, it expands. Thus, the expanding ice causes the asphalt on top of it to crack. Unless these cracks are fixed immediately, they can widen to become potholes. Some potholes can get to be enormous sizes. 

The freezing temperatures of winter cause stress to the roads. By the spring, this stress often results in a lot of potholes for drivers to avoid. 

Why you should avoid potholes. 

It is essential for the health of your vehicle that you avoid potholes if at all possible. Potholes are potentially dangerous. They can cause the following damage to your vehicle. 

  • Bent wheel rims. 
  • Alignment issues. 
  • Suspension damage. 
  • Tire damage. 
  • Shock and strut issues. 

Obviously, most of the damage caused by potholes will be to the undercarriage and wheels of your vehicle. This damage can take your vehicle out of commission for a while. It can also be costly. 

Finally, potholes are dangerous because they can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation. Avoid potholes as much as possible. 

What to do if you cannot avoid a pothole. 

Sometimes it is just not possible to avoid a pothole. If you are surrounded by other vehicles, you should not cause an accident just to avoid the pothole. That does not do you any good. In cases where avoiding a pothole is not an option, the following tips can help reduce the likelihood of damage. 

  • Drive defensively. 
  • Don’t drive distracted. 
  • Don’t accelerate or slam on your brakes when going over the pothole. Coasting with both hands on the steering wheel will allow you to keep control of your vehicle. 
  • If you hit one pothole, be aware that there may be more in the area. Keep your eyes open for others. 
  • Follow other vehicles at the appropriate distance. This is especially important if there are potholes around. A correct following distance will ensure that you have the room you need to deal with any potholes. 
  • Keep your tires inflated properly. Tires in good condition and with the right air pressure will absorb the impact best. 

If you’ve hit a pothole and suspect damage, contact a mechanic like Ethan’s Honest Automotive immediately.