Driving over a pothole is always annoying, but did you know that it can cause lasting damage to your car? Potholes can do all sorts of things to your car, from knocking the wheels out of alignment or puncturing the tires to breaking the suspension or damaging the engine. That's a lot of things that can go wrong.
You can prevent pothole damage through a combination of preparation and defensive driving.
1. Make sure you maintain your tires' air pressure. Tires that are inflated to their manufacturer-recommended PSI can better minimize any damage when you have the misfortune to drive over a pothole.
2. Don't tailgate. If you can't see the road ahead of you, you can't react to poor road conditions or potholes. Make sure you keep enough space between you and the car in front of you so that you can see any potholes ahead of time.
3. Slow down. If driving over a pothole is unavoidable, be sure to slow down so that you don't hit it at a high speed. However, don't slam on the brakes. Doing so can compress your front transmission, which will increase the amount of damage that your car will sustain.
If you do hit a pothole and are worried that you damaged your car, you should take it in to have a mechanic inspect it. Much of the damage that happens due to potholes is hard for the untrained eye to see, so it's best to have a professional check it out.