While tire-hungry potholes are typically a sign of spring, this winter’s frequent temperature swings have taken an early toll on the nation’s roadways – and drivers are paying a steep price. AAA East Central advises motorists to take proactive steps to avoid costly repairs caused by hitting potholes.
“Potholes can certainly pose a safety risk to motorists, but they can also result in unexpected and costly repair bills,” says Mike Hoshaw, vice president of automotive services, AAA East Central. “It can cost anywhere from $250 to as much as $1000 to fix problems like tire punctures and bent wheels along with more expensive issues like suspension damage.”
A recent survey from AAA found that in 2021, 1 in 10 drivers sustained vehicle damage significant enough to warrant a repair after hitting a pothole, with an average price tag of almost $600 per repair. In all, damage caused by potholes cost American drivers a staggering $26.5 billion in 2021 alone.
Potholes form when moisture collects in small holes and cracks in the road surface. The moisture expands and contracts when temperatures go up and down. This breaks up the pavement and, combined with the weight of passing cars, eventually results in a pothole.
To minimize vehicle damage from potholes, AAA East Central offers the following tips:
Inspect tires: Properly inflated tires can act as a “cushion” when hitting a pothole.
Look ahead: Make a point of scanning the road ahead for potholes so there is enough time to react and to avoid hitting a pothole.
Slow down: If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely without abrupt braking.
Beware of puddles: Puddles often disguise deep potholes.
Recognize noises/vibrations; A hard pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage the tire or wheel, and even break suspension components. Any unusual noises after a pothole hit should be inspected immediately.
Check for a spare: Many newer cars do not have spare tires. Check to see if the vehicle is equipped with a spare, and make sure to regularly check its tire pressure (PSI).
Motorists should identify a repair shop they trust to help keep their vehicle in good shape. The AAA Approved Auto Repair network consists of nearly 7,000 facilities that have met AAA’s high standards, including, technician certifications, ongoing training, financial stability, facility cleanliness, insurance requirements, rigorous inspections and customer satisfaction. Visit AAA.com/autorepair to find a nearby facility.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 70 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.