The brutal winter cold has wreaked havoc on our roads, creating the likes of crater-sized potholes that we haven’t seen in years. Your car will probably take some hard shots and bring on mounting car repairs. In fact, a survey conducted by Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America found that half of car owners from 2009 to 2014 experienced vehicle damage due to potholes.
Driving into a pothole puts enormous strain on your tires, wheels, and suspension. The shape and depth of the road hole and the speed you travel all play into the severity of potential damage, but there are other considerations as well. A lot of cars, for example, now come with performance tires, which come with short sidewalls that provide responsive cornering but with less area to flex and conform to a pothole edge compared to a taller conventional tire. As a result, performance tires are also more prone to sidewall cutting and blistering.
Any direct hit in a pothole could bring about near instant air loss and will require immediate replacement. Any tire that survives a pothole and has sidewall damage should also be replaced in short order. Wheels also take a beating; drive into a really deep pothole and you may be replacing the tire and the wheel. And just think of what that pothole shock does to your car’s suspension.
It’s always a good civic duty to report potholes to your local municipality. Many major cities and states now have apps for sharing pothole locations. This time of year, town and city officials should be repairing the holes to thwart any further road degradation and curb vehicle damage and accidents.
Should the worst happen and you experience pothole damage to your vehicle, most auto insurances will cover the damage, but may not cover normal wear and tear items such as tires. In the Trusted Choice survey, 31 percent of respondents who experienced pothole damage filed an insurance claim. The majority paid out of pocket for repairs.