Potholes: Menace to Drivability

With winter now at its peak here in Walworth County, road conditions are currently at their most challenging. As temperatures oscillate between above freezing and below freezing the next little while, you’ll most likely begin seeing a menace potentially as dangerous as black ice or a blinding blizzard appear on our roads – potholes.

Potholes are created by water infiltrating asphalt pavement and its underlying soil via structural cracks and then freezing when the temperature drops, thereby making the cracks bigger. When the ice then melts, the hole remains and the asphalt surrounding it will collapse and a pothole will resultantly emerge.

In addition to being eyesores and road irritants, potholes can also cause serious (and expensive!) damage to your vehicle if you’re not careful. Here are the various vehicle components that can be affected by potholes in the coming months:

Suspension – Hitting a pothole can damage your vehicle’s shocks and struts which will in turn negatively impact your suspension. A wonky suspension will cause your vehicle to handle poorly and greatly increase the odds of an accident.

Alignment – Completely smooth roads are tough to come by this time of year and driving on an uneven surface, even at a reduced speed, can lead to your wheels/tires being pulled out of alignment. Potholes are an extreme example of an uneven surface, and if you hit several in a short amount of time your risk for rapid tire wear and wonky wheel alignment increases greatly.

Wheels/Tires – In addition to affecting your alignment which can gradually impact your tires’ tread, potholes are also a leading cause of flats and blowouts during the winter and spring months.

Even if you don’t think a pothole hit has had an impact on your vehicle, it’s better to be safe than sorry and have an ASE-certified technician perform a thorough inspection to make sure no damage has been done that can expand in scope over time. If you’re worried that your alignment or suspension have been affected by a pothole hit, give us a call at 262-968-3324 to set up an inspection for your vehicle!