Warning: Pothole Season Approaches

Warning: Pothole Season Approaches

| By: Scott & Tammie Green, Christian Brothers Automotive Shawnee

During February, temperatures will regularly bounce back and forth above and below the freezing point, creating the perfect conditions to breed potholes. Looking ahead to Shawnee’s forecast over the next week or two, the area expects to see the type of weather that can development of potholes.

Warmer temperatures and sunlight will thaw the freeze from the night before, allowing that water to trickle in-between the cracks in the pavement. When the sun sets that evening and thermometers plummet back below 32 degrees, that water freezes back up creating larger cracks in the road. Ultimately, this process leads to gaping holes on the morning commute that cause drivers to spill their coffee in hand, or worse, damage their vehicle’s suspension and undercarriage.

Potholes can lead to very costly trips to the auto repair shop.

At the start of 2016, AAA reported that American drivers reported an average bill of $306 to repair the damage to their vehicles caused by potholes which amounts to about $3 billion on average per year.

Typically, AAA reports that there are three common areas of the vehicle that are damaged: tires, wheels, and suspensions.

  • Tires and Wheels: To protect tires from the area’s imminent pothole problem, drivers should make sure their tires are properly inflated. Often times, the sudden jolt when a wheel ducks in and out of a pothole can break or crack a tire’s rim to an unrepairable state, in addition, to damaging the tire itself. The cost to replace a tire and/or wheel varies based upon the type of vehicle you drive. Tires range from $100-$300 per tire. Steel wheels are average of $75, but alloy wheels can be as much as $500.
  • Suspension: Drivers would be lucky to only endure damage to their tires after cruising through a pothole, considering suspension damage is both common and expensive. Your vehicle’s suspension are made up of the following: control arm, ball joint, tie rod and shock/strut. Many people think that the purpose of suspension is to keep the vehicle’s occupants comfortable with a ride that is isolated from road noise, bumps and vibrations. Although, that is true, your vehicle’s suspension is to maximize the friction between the tires and the road surface, to provide steering stability and braking efficiency for increased safety. Vehicles with suspension damage should be taken to your trusted mechanic promptly and can rack up a bill of $1,000 or more. Even realigning a damaged suspension will cost drivers up to $150.

To dodge pothole damage while on the road, Shawnee drivers can regularly check on their tire pressure and remain alert while behind the wheel. While potholes are a nuisance, they’re generally easy to spot as long as drivers are paying attention. Though, sometimes, driving into a pothole cannot be avoided, especially when in traffic. In those scenarios, AAA recommends that drivers slow down as much as possible but release the brakes and straighten the steering wheel right before making contact.

Your Shawnee KS, Christian Brothers Automotive can take care of all your suspension needs. We always look at a vehicle’s suspension free of charge. We also provide free alignment checks.

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