Orange barrels on the freeways and potholes on the side streets. These are realities for Northeast Ohio drivers this time of year. Cleveland vehicles are subjected to a real obstacle course, and if drivers aren’t cautious, the potholes around town can really do a number to your vehicle.
Just like a doctor might show you a picture of the human anatomy and ask you to point to “where it hurts” when you go for a visit, your car care professional might do the same. There are many different ways a pothole can mess up your car, so we thought we’d take a look at a few:
Your tires don’t have to “blow-out” to be impacted.
While it’s true that one of the worst-case scenarios would be a huge tire blowout on the street, a tire blowout isn’t the only way that a tire can suffer damage from a pothole. Cleveland tires often look like they were mutated by a mad scientist. They can suffer from bulges, separated tread, and air loss, and they just don’t look like the tires they were when they left the showroom. Potholes hold hidden sharp spots made of concrete and often metal that can puncture tires, snapping the belts that hold them together and slicing the rubber along the way. You can’t wait until it blows if you see a bubble or worn tire – you need to get it replaced right away. You could be one hard bump from a blowout, and as you’ll soon see, that can mean more damage! Keep your tires properly inflated to help avoid some of the damage.
Stay in your wheelhouse.
If you’ve ever gotten too close to a curb and scraped your wheel, you know the sinking feeling you got in your stomach when you heard that screeching noise. That pales in comparison to the THUD you hear when your wheel is bent by a trip into a pothole. Bends, chips, and cracks are all damages that can befall your wheels after impact, and all of them are potentially catastrophic. Once there is damage to the wheel, the air-tight seal that kept your tires inflated could be broken and you might have to replace both of them. The worst part of it is that you might have damage you can’t see. All of the damage types that can happen with your wheel can be small and hard to detect, and your wheel can be covered by debris, making the damage hard to spot. So, give those wheels a good shine and look for damage. If you’re lucky, you might be able to repair it. If not, you’ll need to get them replaced before tackling the streets again.
Potentially, the most expensive result of a trip to the pothole center of the universe could be damage to your suspension. Potholes can take your car out of alignment, break your ball joints, damage your shocks and struts – you name it. If you are lucky, a skilled mechanic can get your vehicle back in alignment. If you aren’t so fortunate and have extreme pulling to one side or the other, uneven wear and tear on your tires, unusual noises or just a poor ride quality in general, you might have bigger problems. You might have broken ball joints or other damaged parts that will need to be replaced. These types of repairs can be tough to “eyeball,” and you’ll really want a trained expert to take a look before trying to fix them yourself.
Anytime you hit a pothole and think to yourself “uh-oh, that didn’t sound good,” you might want to make a trip to see the car care experts at your neighborhood Rad Air. We are the experts in fixing the “my car goes left when I steer right” and “my tire looks like it got hit with a hammer” problems that accompany hitting a Cleveland pothole. Make an appointment to stop in and see us at any one of our Northeast Ohio locations for an assessment. We never recommend a service that you don’t need, and it’s our goal to keep you safe and sound, even if the road has other intentions!