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Apr 4, 2018

5 min. read

While spring is officially here, it’s not all coming up roses. The constant freezing and thawing we’ve seen over the past couple of months has caused asphalt to crack and heave which is a perfect recipe for your car’s nemesis: potholes.

Where’d that come from?

Potholes form when moisture gets within the road surface and then expands due to changing temperatures. This breaks apart the roadway’s outer shell, compromising the road’s structural integrity and ability to bear heavy loads.

So far as of mid-March, over 107,000 potholes have already been filled in the city of Toronto alone, with $2.4 million spent on pothole repairs.

Hit to the car, hit to the wallet.

Potholes can have a serious impact on vehicles, no pun intended.

The average cost of repairing pothole damage is in excess of $300, with some fixes topping $1,000.

A pothole can wreak havoc even when a driver doesn’t strike it. Sudden attempts to swerve around a rut in the road can cause an accident, especially if the driver fails to first check for surrounding traffic before trying to dart around the pothole.

A car is driving down a road with a pothole.

Minimize the damage.

What if you can’t dodge the pothole? There are some actions that can reduce the level of damage:

  • reduce your speed

  • release the brakes just before impact

  • keep your wheels straight

Safely reduce your vehicle’s speed as much as the situation allows, then try to release the brakes just before hitting the pothole. A slower speed will reduce impact forces and a non-braking wheel has a better chance of ‘rolling through’ the pothole.

If possible, make sure the car’s front wheels are pointed straight ahead when striking the pothole. This helps to evenly and squarely distribute the impact, lessening the energy being absorbed by any one particular suspension component. It’ll also help the driver maintain control as the wheel bounces back up out of the pothole.

Be prepared.

Keeping one’s vehicle maintenance up to date can help the situation. Worn suspension components are more susceptible to breakage under a pothole impact, so make sure to have your car’s suspension checked by a trusted mechanic.

Written by: Matthew Guy

A hole in the road with cars parked around it.
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