Spring is a season that lots of people just adore. I don't deny it, I myself admire the season when nature revives after the long winter sleep. The birds start to sing more and more expressively, the sun sneaks up in the sky more and more often, the snow disappears here and there, and..... the potholes of the road are revealed along with all these natural pleasures. On one hand, driving seems easier because the snow and humidity disappear. But on the other hand, the roads tend to deteriorate severely with the change of season. In this context, potholes become serious rivals that are always ready to affect your tire and not only that.
No matter how hard you try to avoid them, the same scenario almost always happens: you avoid one hole and come across another one without noticing it. Thus, the road becomes a real challenge full of bumps and frustrations. Well, let's see to what extent potholes affect our tires. And most importantly, how do you deal with these damages in the most cost-effective way? We will also discuss some ideas on how to avoid the impact of potholes on our tires. Of course, we don't really have a way to avoid them, unless we start repairing the roads ourselves. But this isn't the best idea, is it?
How Do Potholes Appear?
As you already know, the sizes of potholes on the roads vary in depth and diameter. Their formation is a constant and invariable process. That is, a pothole can appear anywhere and anytime. In most cases, they appear after low temperatures for a certain period. In winter, the water freezes under the asphalt pavement of the road. Along with temperature variations, the water melts, freezing again sometime later. In such conditions, the pavement constantly contracts and expands as a result of the intermittent freezing and melting of the water. This process creates smaller and larger cracks that, once they appear, become deeper and larger. With these processes in mind, it is clear why in the spring we notice that the holes appear like mushrooms after the rain.
Add to this the massive tonnage of heavily loaded trucks that put major pressure on the sensitive asphalt, and here we have a road full of cracks, potholes, and debris that severely worsens the condition of the road.
Pothole Impact On The Tire
No matter how hard we try to avoid road potholes, it is impossible to avoid them all. This is because while we avoid the big ones, the small ones remain unnoticed. Besides this, don't forget that it's not just potholes that impact our tires, but also road debris. This one seems inoffensive because it's small. But be sure that this is also an enemy of your car's internal system. In this regard, you must be aware of the signs that suggest possible tire damage due to holes and debris.
Some signs can be more expressive, others - barely visible. They depend directly on the intensity with which you collide with the pothole, as well as its depth and diameter. Also, the type of tires you wear on your car matters a lot in the ability to withstand pothole impact. So, a chain of factors influences the severity of the car's impact. After driving on debris or potholes for a long time, the car will suggest to you that it's not okay through bent rims, bulging tire sidewall, steering vibrations, the vehicle pulling to one or another side, etc... So, your job is to respond promptly to any unusual symptoms.
How Do Different Potholes Affect Tires?
Each of us has faced a situation when we aggressively ran over a big pothole. What are the risks for the tire? In such cases, the tires can get bulged. Matter-of-factly, the structure of the tire is not exclusively made of a circular mass of rubber. It contains fibers, different belts, and cords that have a certain purpose.
These are usually made of other material than rubber, often made of steel or other metals. A big pothole is likely to damage the shape and structure of these components. Consequently, air can enter the damaged structure, generating an air bubble or bulge. You will notice this bubble on the tire sidewall and if you spot it, you will have to replace the tire because this damage cannot be repaired.
Pulling to Sides
Another negative effect of big potholes is the car pulling to the left or right. The explanation is as simple as possible: the tire alignment was affected after the impact. By the way, encountering a pothole is one of the most common reasons for tire misalignment. So, whenever you feel like your car is pulling to one or another side, look for a specialist to correct the alignment.
A bent rim can have a negative effect when the car encounters a deep pothole. The pothole doesn't need to be large in diameter. But if this is deep, there is a high chance that the pothole will aggressively touch the rim tip, leading to its further bending. If you notice this damage, I recommend looking for a technician as soon as possible. The problem is repairable in most cases, but only if you remove it quickly before it affects the structure of the tire and the entire suspension system.
Fluid Leakage Issues
Another problem that drivers face regarding deep potholes is that these seriously damage the vehicle's underbelly. The explanation lies in the fact that some of the fluid pans are located specifically in this area and any hole can dent them in such a way that they start to leak. For this reason, you would do your car a favor by checking for leaks on the asphalt after impacts with deep potholes.
The most obvious and immediate damage after interacting with potholes is a flat tire. Like it or not, you must act immediately and replace it as soon as possible. Keep in mind that the more you drive with a flat tire, the more the negative impact on the rim increases and you may find yourself with a rim repair included. In order to avoid such situations, change the tire to the spare one as soon as possible.
Unlike the flat tire which is an immediate effect, components loosening is a slow one, but just as dangerous for your vehicle. The interior details of the car become less compact and weaker after impacts with even tiny potholes. Also, this effect is often encountered after driving on debris. Components loosening hides a delayed danger in itself. That is, the suspension system starts to become unstable gradually without you realizing that it has been affected by the debris roads.
How To Minimize Pothole Impact On Tires?
Whether we like it or not, the spring season comes with this "bouquet" in the form of road potholes. Confrontation with them is inevitable unless we repair the roads by ourselves or close the car in the garage until the authorities restore the roads. But I think that none of the scenarios is advantageous, right? In these circumstances, all we can do is minimize the impact as much as possible. In the following passage, you will find some recommendations that will help you be better prepared for this season.
Take into account the distance between vehicles
I bet you haven't thought about this safety measure until now. But it's time to do it. The right distance between vehicles will allow you to identify large potholes on the road, and possibly avoid them either by slowing down or by detouring. Too little distance reduces your field of vision and you can face a hole that is too big, even if the car in front of you manages to avoid it. You just won't have enough time to do the same.
Take into account the driving speed
Maintaining an optimal speed is a fundamental recommendation, regardless of how good or bad the road is. If we still talk about the dangers of potholes, an optimal speed helps you to react early when you visually detect a hole in the road. The reasonable speed allows you to estimate the risk associated with the pothole. For example, you will have enough reaction time to go around a puddle. Puddles are usually very tricky because you never know what is hidden in their depth.
In the same context, you would do well to avoid sudden swerving when facing a pothole. This action puts your life in danger. With these dangers in mind, reasonable speed is the best option in pothole periods.
The optimal pressure in your tires: a must
I assume you know how important it is to keep the tire pressure in optimal condition. There are dozens of reasons why you should do it, and dozens of risks if you don't. Well, the resistance of your tires against potholes depends on their pressure. So you have an extra reason to ensure optimal tire pressure.
In conditions where the tires have an increased or low pressure, the impact with potholes makes them much more sensitive to damage. Keep in mind that potholes will be inevitable in the spring season and the tires will be subject to impact anyway. For this reason, regular checkups of your tire pressure must be a moral duty for you.
Like it or not, road potholes are a damage factor for our tires. And as responsible drivers that we are, we must strive to find solutions to minimize their impact. Some tire manufacturers offer pothole coverage in their warranties. So, you can opt for such tire makers to ease your risks. However, be careful with them because the coverage comes with a set of specs. For example, the warranty for pothole coverage only applies for one year. Either way, carefully read all the details of the guarantee, to make sure that the conditions suit you.
Unfortunately, we cannot look for culprits for the formation of road potholes. Although some states accept complaints from drivers, potholes continue to form and the authorities cannot deal with the situation quickly. For these reasons, we must accept the situation and understand that only we can minimize their impact on our tires.
Specialists suggest that the best solution is to pass around them, instead of going over them, if possible. If passing around them is not possible for some reason, driving over them involves gradual braking while keeping the steering wheel confidently.
Do not neglect all the above recommendations. Driving on potholes directly leads to severe damage and deformation of the suspension system. And I don't think you like the idea of fixing the whole system, do you?