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Potholes are formed when moisture sips into the tarmac and expands unevenly causing the tarmac particles to break apart. Potholes can easily cause damage to your vehicle if not well maneuvered and shock absorbers are installed in vehicles to cushion important components against damage when one hits a pothole. This leads to a very common question among many drivers ‘How do I know if my car has pothole damage?’ and we wrote a simple guide to help you access your vehicle for damage.
If you happen to hit a pothole and the shock absorbers are not functioning properly, your car might experience damage to violent shaking. The following signs indicate that your vehicle’s shock absorbers aren’t working and it has incurred pothole damage.
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When you feel that your vehicle is a bit lower in the front or the back this is a sign that it has pothole damage. A car that is in good condition should look balanced from afar and should also feel balanced.
·Acceleration and Braking
If your vehicle dives to the front when you apply pressure on the brakes, there is a very high possibility that it has pothole damage. Pothole damage also affects the accelerating speed of the machine as the rear end tends to squat creating some resistance force.
An automobile with pothole damage is hard to control, especially when making abrupt stops. It also tends to sway to the other direction when you try to make a turn.
Hitting potholes can cause physical damages to the body of the automobile. It might also cause deflation of the tires or abnormal bulge on tire rims. If you see any of these signs then your vehicle has pothole damage.
Most pothole damage occurs to the components that are located on the belly of the vehicle. If you hit a pothole and create a crack in the car, there might be leakage of fluids and this is the most common sign of pothole damage. This makes car maintenance costs escalate when you’re on a lease.
Most pothole damage can’t be visibly seen but it will cause the vehicle to produce some funny noise from the wheels or exhaust pipe. If you identify such noise, you should consult your mechanic so that they can identify the root of the problem and fix it before it causes any further damage to your beloved machine.
If you experience any of the listed signs, it is important that you take your vehicle for inspection as soon as possible because pothole damages can cause accidents on the road. Having your shock absorbers and stunts serviced and inspected regularly can help you to boost protection against pothole damage as they cushion against the bouncing caused by driving over potholes.
What does hitting a pothole do to your car?
If you hit a pothole head-on or you sway away in time, there is a possibility that your vehicle may have experienced damage and this might cost you a lot in repairs. So what does hitting a pothole do to your car?
The extent of the damage suffered by your machine is determined mainly by the speed that you hit the pothole with as this affects the level of impact generated. The size of the pothole and its depth also plays a big role in the amount of damage caused.
Tires experience the most immediate damage when you hit a pothole as they undergo a considerable amount of wear and tear. If the impact was very huge, it might cause the rim to bend which might lead to leakage of air causing you to have a flat tire.
Pothole damage can cause misalignment which usually manifests itself in the form of uneven shaking of the car. It also causes the steering to feel as if it is coming off leading to poor steering of the vehicle.
The suspension system is made up of shock absorbers and springs which are meant to cushion critical components against the shock of hitting bumps and potholes. Continuous bumping can cause damage to the suspension system leaving the vehicle exposed.
Are potholes covered by insurance?
Yes, pothole damage is covered by insurance. This is, however, on condition that you have taken up collision coverage as the comprehensive cover doesn’t cover this. Comprehensive cover insurers the automobile against theft, fire damage caused by fallen objects.
Collision coverage is an optional additional coverage to the standard policy and it gives you cover against any damage caused by collision objects such as lamp post or potholes. It is important to note that this cover doesn’t include any damage caused to tires and you will have to cater for this from your own pocket.
If the impact of hitting the pothole is very huge such that it has caused front-end damage, the collision coverage insurers you up to your coverage limit minus your deductible. The deductible refers to the money that you have agreed to pay from your own pocket while the coverage limit is the highest extreme that your insurer is willing to pay to cover a claim.
Liability insurance also covers damages that result from hitting a person or another car as a result of hitting a pothole. This insurance cover is compulsory in many states and it covers the policyholder, designated driver as well as third party.
Can a pothole bend an axle?
Axles are rods that transmit power to the wheels and driving over huge potholes can cause extensive damage to the axles. Axles also serve to hold the weight of the vehicle and its cargo and malfunction of the axles can lead to shaky wheels and an unbalanced car.
You can know if your axle is bent if you feel that the automobile is not accelerating as it should. Leaking of grease is also another sign that the axle is damaged and if not corrected in time can create bigger problems. Another common indicator of bent or damaged axle is the production of loud and funny noises whenever the car is in motion.
What happens when you hit a big pothole?
When you hit a big pothole, it is likely that your car will have internal and external damage. Some parts that are susceptible to damage in such a case include;
They are first to come into contact with the pothole which will cause them to wear and tear at the point of impact. The rim will also bend making the sealant to loosen up cause air leakage.
All components located beneath the car are prone to damage when you hit a pothole. The exhaust system is located at the rear end of the vehicle, gets damaged most of the time and this may lead to the production of weird noises during acceleration. The transmission of power is also affected as the exhaust system isn’t functioning properly leading to the loss of power.
If the damage to the exhaust pipes is very critical, you may experience leakage of the exhaust waste into the cabin which might lead to the inhabitants of the car experiencing serious health complications.
·Body of the car
Luxury vehicles are generally lower in the ground compared to other cars and the body of such vehicles experiences greater damage when you hit a big pothole. While this type of damage doesn’t affect the functioning of a vehicle in any way, it might create crack which will start rusting and spread to the rest of the body.
Hitting a big pothole will definitely affect the suspension system of the car and lead to the wearing of the shock absorbers and springs. The machine will then start to produce funny sounds, vibrations or the steering wheel will feel loose.
Will the city pay for pothole damage?
Cities that have bad weather tend to have many potholes because the adverse conditions tends to affect the stability of the tarmac molecules forcing them to crack easily under little pressure Fortunately, there are cities such as Chicago and State of Virginia cover for damage caused by potholes.
Some of the common damages that are paid for include; bent rims, flat tires, misalignment or flat tires. You should, however, do in-depth research about your city as some cities set an annual limit of the claims that they will settle in a year that are related to pothole damage.
Other cities such as Colorado don’t pay for damages caused by potholes unless there is documented evidence that they had received another warning regarding the existence of that pothole. They also require that there should have been enough time for them to repair the pothole before you hit it.
When the city isn’t cooperating, you can approach your insurance company and ask them to pay for the damage themselves and then go after the city for compensation. The city officials are more likely to bend to the will of your insurer than they are likely to listen to you.