Winter presents a host of not only treacherous, but potentially expensive, conditions. In colder climates, one of the most aggravating road conditions is the pothole. If you’re not careful, it can shake your car alignment off-balance and ruin your tires.
Car insurance claims and potholes
If you hit a pothole and it damages your tires, this should be covered under the collision coverage of your policy. Collision coverage also covers other obstructions that you might hit while traveling. When you make a claim, be sure to take photos and notes. Unfortunately, the damage usually costs less than your deductible, so it doesn’t necessarily save money to file a claim at all. For this reason, prevention is the key to saving money. But you can’t always prevent driving over potholes. So what can you do? Read on. . .
How to prevent pothole damage
If you come upon a pothole, don’t slam on the brakes or swerve the car. Of course it’s nice to be able to avoid them, but on busy roads, sometimes this is impossible. The best thing to do is to reduce your speed so you can glide over it squarely. Remember to stay alert, looking down the road at potential hazards. That seemingly harmless puddle could be covering up a deep pothole!
Get regular car inspections. Especially during the colder months, if you notice a constant decrease in tire pressure, it may be time to rotate your tires. Underinflated tires that hit a pothole can cause a flat or a blowout. Overinflated tires can damage the structure of the tire itself. If you suspect you may have a flat, drive slowly and try to pull over to a place away from traffic. To prevent under- or overinflated tires, keep your tire air pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended levels. In many vehicles, you can see the recommended air pressure numbers on the inside floor of the driver’s side when you open the driver’s side door.
Hitting a pothole can easily mess up your alignment. Is your alignment out of whack? If it is, you may feel a vibration in the tires or the seats in your car. If your car pulls to the left or right, this is also a sign of poor alignment.
When you inspect your car, always check the tread of your tires. The general rule is to take a quarter and insert the edge into your tire tread. George Washington’s head should be partially covered. If not, it’s time to look for some new tires.
Also have your shock absorbers checked. A vibration could indicate a problem with your shocks or suspension.
Remember that winter and spring are the seasons when road damage is worse than ever, as the concrete expands and cracks. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent any damage to your car should you encounter potholes or other road hazards caused by rough weather.
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