While tire-hungry potholes are typically a sign of spring, this winter’s temperature swings have taken an early toll on the Nation’s roadways – and drivers are paying a steep price. With “Pothole Season” upon us, AAA East Central advises motorists to take proactive steps to avoid costly repairs caused by hitting potholes.
“Not only do potholes pose a safety risk to motorists, they can really leave a dent in your wallet,” says Mike Hoshaw, vice president of automotive services at AAA East Central. “Even if the damage isn’t as obvious as a flat tire, vehicles can end up with bent wheels or damaged suspension parts.”
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 your 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 you can react in time 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 your vehicle is equipped with a spare, and make sure to regularly check its PSI.
Motorists should identify a repair shop they trust to help keep their vehicle in good shape. 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 80 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.