Spring has arrived! While seasonal temperatures are slowly warming up in parts of Canada, this means the return of weekend getaways and road trips. It also means the return of potholes. Since potholes can’t be avoided on the roads this season, the automotive experts at OK Tire want to teach you the best way to try and reduce the damage they can cause to your vehicle.
Here are a few tips to minimize pricey repairs during pothole season:
Top up your tire pressure
- The best protection against potholes is properly inflated tires.
- Look at the manual or the driver’s door jamb to find the proper tire pressure for your car – the number on the side of the tires is the maximum recommended by the tire manufacturer.
- Check tire pressure every other week.
Slow down and watch out
- Stay off the seams and edges of the road, as these are key spots where potholes usually develop.
- Be cautious when the roads are wet, as there may be a pothole under that puddle.
Try to drive over it
- If you see a pothole, your first instinct might be to swerve – and that could cause damage that you could have otherwise avoided.
- It’s actually okay to just drive over them – you just want to avoid hitting them with your tires.
- People often swerve and then hit it with one of their wheels – that’s when the damage happens.
- The only time you don’t want to drive over a pothole? If something big enough to damage the underside of your car is sticking out of it.
- Don’t brake – this can cause a wheel to lock and transmit a harsher impact to the vehicle.
What to do if you’ve hit a pothole
- Find somewhere safe to pull over and inspect the damage. If it was hard enough to rattle your teeth and you don’t see damage or the car handling feels funny, it’s a good idea to take it in to have your vehicle inspected.
- If the alignment is off, you can get uneven and premature tire wear – or the car can pull to one side while you’re driving.
- There could also be tire damage. They may look fine but could blow out later.
- You might get a little bulge on the side of the tire because there’s a tear in the inside lining. When you run your hand along the sidewall, you can feel it. The car’s still drivable and people don’t notice it, but if you hit that exact spot again, you’ll get a blowout.
Can you claim the damage to the city?
- It’s best to call and verify with the city as rules and procedures are different in each municipality.
A well-maintained vehicle is one of your best defenses during pothole season. Keeping your tire pressure at the recommended level and ensuring that you are following the advised maintenance schedule for your vehicle means that if you do hit a pothole you are less likely to sustain serious damage. Also remember to change wiper blades if they are starting to fray and keep wiper fluid topped up as good visibility will decrease your chances of hitting a pothole in the first place.