How to avoid killing your car on a pothole

(MEDIA GENERAL) – It’s that time of year, and in many parts of the country it’s worse than ever. Potholes are everywhere, in part, because we had such frigid temperatures the ground froze deeper than most winters. That means now that the thaw is here, those potholes are popping up all over the place.

There are a few easy steps you can take to try to avoid the broken asphalt from destroying your car. An expert at Belle Tire suggests drivers do these things:

  • Never brake or speed up when going over a pothole
  • Slow down before you hit the pothole, then release brakes – reducing the speed will soften the blow. Driving over a two inch pothole at 50 miles per hour is about the same as dropping your car from five to 10 feet up in the air.
  • Properly working shocks and struts will act as cushions upon impact
  • Make sure tires are properly inflated; tires that are not properly inflated are more susceptible to pothole damage
  • Have your vehicle’s suspension and steering checked to make sure they are working properly
  • Make sure your headlights are clean and working. If you can’t see it, you might hit it.

If you do these six things, you may avoid further damage to your car during pothole season.

If you are an unlucky driver and hit a pothole, Dave LaBounty, Director of Retail Operations at Belle Tire, tells us you should pay attention to how your car feels. If it’s shaking, vibrating or an indicator light is going off, you’ll want to get it checked out immediately. Tire patches you can buy at the store are unlikely to help with a pothole problem. They are made to repair punctures not tears.

However, if you get a puncture, break, bulge or any other damage, have a repair shop or tire store check it out to see if the tire can be fixed instead of having to replace it completely. Safe driving!

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