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. This cannot avoid the dangers that our car and we may face! Read on to find out what damages these undesirable potholes on the road can cause to your car and how you can avoid the pothole damage.
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- Potholes Kill
It’s uncertain that it may necessarily cause death but potholes have the capability of causing accidents that may be serious or even fatal. This makes me recall an event when I was travelling on the Golf Course Extension Road, Gurgaon. The road has numerous amount of craters. A person driving over 60kmph hit a hard brake upon seeing a crater which led to a chain accident. All 3 of the cars involved were damaged badly and the only reason behind this accident was a dreaded pothole.
Yes, potholes affect the efficiency of your car badly. Explaining this in a very simple way. Potholes cause traffic to move slowly. People shift gears and are forced to drive at lower gears. This leads to a crazy amount of extra fuel being unknowingly consumed by these potholes. The potholes having greater sizes can also lead to piling up of traffic which also leads to the consumption of more fuel on the road. We can, therefore, say potholes force us to drive less fuel-efficient vehicles.
The damage caused by driving through a begins at the tyre. The tyre is the first surface of the wheel that is crushed between the road surface and the wheel of the vehicle. The tyre experiences very violent and concentrated forces. As a result of this, the tyre may get punctured or a sidewall slice that is not repairable. This can even result in the cutting of the internal belts of the tyre’s structure.
The second ones to experience the impact are the rims or alloys. Possible damages for the rim can be bent lips, fractures/cracks, or even being bent out of round or out of parallel. Some of this damage may not be obvious without spinning it in place on a hoist or mounted on a tire balancer. The wheel bearing experiences the impact shock from the wheel at the same instant as the wheel. Direct bearing failure as a result of hitting a pothole is extremely unlikely; however, repetitive or severe impacts can crater or flake the chromed surfaces in which the bearing’s balls or rollers run on, leading 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 hits against potholes can cause a variety of suspension problems, including misalignment, broken ball joints, and damaged shocks or struts. A trained mechanic can fix this misaligned suspension but you may 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.
Exhaust pipes run along the underbody of the car and are an easy target for the potholes lurking in the road. Deep potholes can cause a car to bottom out and scrape the undercarriage against the pavement, potentially denting or ripping a hole in the exhaust pipes, muffler, or catalytic converter. If you experience weird exhaust noises or lack of power, your exhaust may be having dents or holes. Also, your car will be emitting unchecked pollutants in the air if you have such an exhaust. A leaky pipe can also get the fumes inside the cabin which is extremely harmful.
So considering all the possible damages that potholes can cause to your car, you ought to read further for the preventive measures to avoid these damages. We all want to avoid these pothole damages and can simply do it by using certain driving and handling techniques. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid all the potholes and the pothole damage because the majority of them come uninformed. These tips may help you to have a lesser impact of these potholes and lesser pothole damage too.
- Tyre inflation: Inflate your tyres to the pressure recommended by your car’s manufacturer. You should take care of your tyre’s pressure as highly inflated tyres are likely to be harmed by the potholes and the same goes for under-inflated tyres too.
- Prevention is better than cure: Look out for the potholes on the road and drive carefully. A tip that might help you to do this is the distance that you maintain enough space between you and the vehicle moving in front of you. Be smart and spot the hole before they wreak havoc on your ride. Whenever it’s possible to safely avoid broken pavement, do.
- It’s tough to judge the depth of the pothole during monsoons. Sometimes we are not even able to spot it. Drive slow under such conditions so that the effect on your car is minimum.
It’s really a sinking feeling to see our country’s roads in such conditions despite our continued efforts to elect better leaders. But keeping politics aside, continuous harms will be faced by our vehicles till these potholes are there. So it’s better to have a safer side ourselves and protect our vehicles from the pothole damage.1