For all the people living in India, potholes need absolutely no introduction. Almost every road in India has got potholes. Sizes may vary with locations but we can’t avoid potholes especially in this country. Blaming the system or a person won’t do any good or avoid the dangers that we and our cars face! Read on to find out what damages these undesirable potholes on the road can cause to your car. Also, learn about how you can avoid pothole damage.
Read More: Autonomous Cars | Explained
It’s somewhat uncertain if potholes may necessarily cause death. But unfortunately, potholes are capable of causing serious to fatal accidents. Let me recount an event that happened while I was travelling on the Golf Course Extension Road, Gurgaon. The road has numerous amount of craters. A person driving over 60kmph hit the brake hard, upon seeing a crater. This led to a chain accident. All 3 of the cars involved were badly damaged all thanks to a dreaded pothole.
Yes, potholes can make your car less efficient. We’ll explain this in a very simple way. Potholes cause traffic to move slowly. Because of this, people shift down to lower gears. Since people are driving slowly a lot of fuel becomes consumed. Again, this would not have happened if it weren’t for the potholes.
Moreover, the bigger potholes can hold up of traffic. This also leads to more fuel being eaten up on the road. We can, therefore, say potholes turn our vehicles less fuel-efficient.
The damage caused by driving through potholes begins at the tyres. While driving, the tyres get crushed between the road surface and the wheels of the vehicle. Because of this, the tyre experiences forces that are violent and concentrated. As a result, when your car hits a pothole, the tyre may get punctured. The sidewall of the tyre may slice, rendering the tyre irreparable. Sometimes because of all this, the internal belts that form the structure of the tyre could become torn.
After the tyres, the wheels take the most hit when you drive through bad roads. Possible rim damages range from bent lips, fractures/cracks to being bent out of round or out of parallel. Some of these damages may not be apparent without spinning it in place on a hoist or mounted on a tire balancer. The wheel bearing experiences the shock of the impact at the same instant as the wheel.
However, a direct bearing failure as a result of hitting a pothole is extremely unlikely. But, repetitive or severe impacts can crater or flake the chromed surfaces in which the bearing’s balls or rollers run on. This can lead to premature death, excessive play, or – quite commonly – noisy operation.
Car suspension is designed to absorb shocks and ensure a smooth ride for the passengers. Sudden, jarring impact, because of the vehicle hitting a pothole can cause a variety of suspension problems. This includes misalignment, broken ball joints and damaged shocks or struts. A suspension that is no longer straightened can make you feel your steering being off-centred and your car pulling to one direction. The tyres may wear unevenly and this leaning of the vehicle to one side also indicates possibly broken ball joints, struts, or shockers.
A trained mechanic can fix this misaligned suspension easily though. Looking for a mechanic? Download the GoMechanic app now!
Exhaust pipes run along the underbody of the car. They are an easy target for the potholes lurking on the road. Deep potholes can damage the car bottom. Moreover, this can cause the car to drag and scrape the undercarriage against the road. This can potentially dent or rip a hole in the exhaust pipes, muffler or catalytic converter.
If you experience weird exhaust noises or lack of power, your exhaust may have dents or holes. Cracked and perforated exhaust and catalytic converter can lead to unchecked pollutants being released into the air. Besides, a leaky pipe can get harmful fumes inside the cabin.
So considering all the possible damages that potholes can cause to your car, you ought to read further. What are the preventive measures to avoid these damages?
Prevent Pothole Damage
We all want to avoid pothole damages. However, it becomes possible to do that through certain driving and handling techniques. Since, majority of the potholes take you by surprise, you cannot avoid all pothole damages. Therefore, look at these tips that’ll help you reduce the impact a pothole can have on your car.
Inflate your tyres to the pressure recommended by your car’s manufacturer. This is because, highly inflated tyres are likely to be harmed by potholes and the same goes for under-inflated tyres too.
Prevention is better than cure
Look out for potholes on the road and drive carefully. Here is a tip: do not tailgate! Maintain enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. And be smart and spot the hole before they wreak havoc on your ride. Whenever it’s possible to safely avoid a broken pavement, do that.
Drive slow on wet roads
It’s tough to judge the depth of the pothole during monsoons. Sometimes we may not even be able to spot it. Therefore, drive slow under such conditions so that the effect on your car is minimum.
Potholes consistently adorn our country’s roads, be it north, south, east or west. Despite our efforts to elect better leaders, somethings just never change. As long as potholes exist our vehicles would take the most toll. Keep an eye out for potholes and we can try to shield our cars from pothole damage as best as we can.