How Cracks and Potholes Can Damage Your Vehicle

Potholes and cracks in the road are a common occurrence in high-traffic cities like Nashville and surrounding middle Tennessee. Although some may seem more severe than others all of these damages in the road can cause some serious damage to your vehicle. If you’re constantly driving over cracks and potholes your vehicle can experience breaks downs more often, shorter tire lifespan and overall have depleted function. If you’re the owner of a commercial lot, a business driveway or even residential driveway you should be maintaining a solid surface. This will help your asphalt drive stay strong and avoid unnecessary car troubles.

What causes cracks and potholes

Potholes and cracks may seem like an inevitable part of paved roads and driveways, and to some degree they are. However proper maintenance and attentive care can extend the lifetime of your asphalt surface. In places like Tennessee where the weather varies from extreme temperature changes and damaging storms it’s important to prepare your asphalt surface [link to extreme weather prep post]. By implementing these routine preventative practices you can avoid cracks and potholes.

Some typical causes of cracks and potholes include:

  • Pooling water

  • Rise and fall of temps causing expansion within the asphalt

  • Winter weather factors (i.e. heavy snow, plows and shoveling, deicing salt)

  • Unrepaired cracks (can expand and worsen if left unattended)

  • Heat and humidity causing lost durability and concaving pavement

Many causes of cracks and potholes on your asphalt driveway or lot are avoidable with proper care. By being proactive you can protect your surface from these damages.

The Damages

No one enjoys a broken down vehicle, usually occurring at the most inconvenient times. Cars acquire inevitable wear and tear. However, if you’re constantly riding over bumps, diving into potholes and treading over cracks you are breaking down the durability of your vehicle. It can become an expensive headache quickly with repairs needed after pothole damage.

A few key parts of your car that take a beating due to cracks and potholes include:

Tires

The first line of defense against a pothole are your tires. With a pothole forming a blunt edge due to concaving pavement, it has the capability of popping your tire like a balloon. The change of surfaces causes inflation because of the sudden shift of air pressure. This can eventually cause the sidewall of your tire to blow out. Other tire damages include tread separation and flats. Driving on any type of tire damage, especially those caused by potholes, is extremely dangerous.

Wheels

Not only can cracks and potholes damage your tires, unrepaired surfaces can harm your wheels as well. Always keep your tires properly inflated to protect the wheels from prominent danger. However because many of these potholes have depth and sharp edging, even fully-inflated tires won’t be enough armor.  Your wheels experience a lot of natural wear and tear just like tires, but the impalement from a jagged piece of pavement can cause expensive damage beyond the typical wear. The wheels on your vehicle can experience aesthetic damage such as gashes, scratches and chips. This may seem minor but impact your wheels enough with damaging force and it can leading to bending which affects the way your entire wheel and tire operate. Chipping due to road factors like cracks and potholes can also become fatal for your tire if left unrepaired.

Want to avoid damage to your vehicles? Is it time to repair a pothole or crack in your asphalt surface? Roadbuilders have you covered!

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Suspension and alignment

The damages your vehicle can take because of unrepaired potholes and cracks goes well beyond the tires. The impact of hitting a pothole can misalign your entire car and seriously affect the quality of your suspension. The overall operation of your vehicle can be tampered with by cracks and potholes. The purpose of your suspension is to be able to absorb any impact and allow a smoother ride for you, but even your vehicle’s suspension has its limit. If you’re constantly running over potholes your suspension is working overtime and eventually will weaken entirely. This is what can cause your suspension to misalign and it can affect the shocks and struts. A damaged suspension can be dangerous because it directly involves your steering. Your car may pull in one direction, the steering wheel may feel loose, shaky, and vibrate unusual noises.  This damage needs to be repaired by a qualified mechanic to avoid and further damage to the rest of your vehicle.

Exhaust system

An essential component to any functioning vehicle is its exhaust system. With functions such as controlling emissions emitted from the vehicle and maintaining the temperature of the exhaust, damage to this part of your vehicle can be detrimental. The exhaust system runs along the undercarriage of your vehicle, so much like your tires, it is a prime target for pothole damage. Feeling the brunt of most bumps your exhaust system can experience extreme rupture due to large potholes and jagged cracks. Also known as “bottoming out” when your exhaust pipe is impacted by a pothole is can be punctured, bent and even ripped off from your vehicle. Damage to your exhaust system causes drastic physical damage to the car and also harmful damage to the environment and passengers. If the vehicle’s exhaust system is damaged it has the potential to leak harmful toxins into the air and the cabin of the car. Both of which can be a major health risk and can lead to dangerous environmental conditions.

What you can do to avoid damage from potholes

Although you may not be able to ever drive on a perfectly smooth, damage free road (we can only dream of such a time!) but there are ways to prevent pothole damage. Trying to avoid the potholes when safely possible is always an effective way to prevent damage. If and when that option isn’t possible, try to slow down the impact of the car going over the pothole. Be aware of weather factors that may cause more damage to roads and it may not always be visible.

If you are dealing with potholes or cracks in your asphalt lot, roadway or residential driveway, the best way to avoid vehicle damage is to repair the surface as soon as possible. This allows your asphalt surface to not only remain durable and effective, it also ensures a safe drive for your vehicle.

Horton Admin