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8 Signs of Pothole Damage

Tips for finding and fixing pothole damage

While the winter show and ice melt away, potholes and serious damage to your car linger into spring and can become your car’s worst enemy. These holes or pits on a road’s surface can seriously damage a vehicle’s ride control system.

If you do drive over a pothole, the Car Care Council recommends that you have your car’s shocks or struts checked to make sure they aren’t damaged.

Shocks and struts control how vehicles ride and handle. According to the Car Care Council, the shock absorbers, or struts as they are referred to on late-model vehicles, act as a cushion to dampen the bouncing action of a car’s springs. The springs absorb the road bumps; without them, the vehicle would continually bounce and bound down the road, making driving extremely difficult.

Shocks and struts also control spring and suspension movement to keep the tires in contact with the road. This affects steering, stability and braking. A broken shock or strut could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create driving dangers. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs that your vehicle’s shocks or struts may need to be replaced.

Check your vehicle for these warning signs of pothole damage:

  • The vehicle rolls or sways on turns

  • The vehicle’s front-end dives when braking

  • The vehicle’s rear end squats when accelerating

  • The vehicle bounces or slides on a winding, rough road

  • The vehicle “bottoms out” or thumps on bumps

  • The vehicle sits lower in the front or rear

  • The vehicle looses directional control during sudden stops

  • The vehicle is leaking or has signs of physical damage, such as rusting or dents

Many components affect a vehicle’s handling. Having your car inspected, if you experience any of these signs, is good preventive maintenance and can help its parts wear less and last longer.

“If you think you may have a worn out or broken shock or strut, don’t wait,” said Car Care Council's Rich White. “Whether you replace it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, this situation should be taken care of right away.”

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign, educating consumers about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair. To see the Car Care Council’s free service interval schedule or for more information on caring for your vehicle, visit Car Care Council.

For more information about how potholes and winter affect your car, read RTM’s articles on Protecting Your Car from Potholes, Spring Car Care Tips and Spring Cleaning for Your Car.

Source: Car Care Council