That’s a common thought. But it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Potholes and curbs can do damage to your car in many different ways. In fact, January 15th is National Pothole Day and was established to bring attention to the ever-increasing pothole menace on our highways.
There are an estimated 55 million potholes in the U.S.
According to AAA, U.S. drivers spend nearly $3 billion a year fixing damage caused by potholes. The average repair bill associated with a pothole mishap is $306, according to the agency. In 64% of cases, the repair bill is $250 or less and only 6% of incidents result in a bill that’s more than $1,000.
Michigan ranks third for the worst pothole problems nationwide.
What does this mean for you? It means, first, to avoid the potholes and skip bumping into curbs. But if it has already happened, here are 5 possibilities for the damages to your car.
- Wheel alignment problems: Your alignment might be thrown off. You will notice this if your car starts pulling to one side, especially when you are driving at higher speeds. You may also notice the tread on your tires wearing unevenly, damage to your tire sidewalls, or bent rims.
- Suspension problems: If the suspension is damaged you will notice more of a bumpy ride happening. This will be especially noticeable when you drive over bumpy roads.
- Transmission problems: If the curb or pothole has some jagged surfaces, you might take damage to your transmission cases, oil pan, shafts & axles, or any cables and lines that might be in the way.
- Steering problems: You may notice a rattling noise. This could be a clue to check your steering. You may also feel the car swaying as you drive (not to be confused with bouncing mentioned earlier). This can be a sign of damage to your tie rods, sway rods, or anti-roll bars. Any of these will result in poor steering performance.
- Exhaust problems: Pointy or sharp edges of a curb or pothole can damage fuel lines, mufflers, or catalytic converters. You might notice your fuel economy dropping or some dash lights are lit.
What you can do?
If you suspect any of these problems, schedule an appointment to have your vehicle checked for safety and performance.
Within Michigan, you can also report a pothole to the Michigan Department of Transportation, requesting state and local roads be repaired:
Use MDOT’s Report a Pothole form or call 888-296-4546 to report potholes on state roads. Most state roads begin with M, I, or US designations (e.g., I-75, M-28, US-23). Your report will be forwarded to the appropriate MDOT region office for action.
To report other potholes, contact your county road commission or local municipality.
If you feel that your car was in fact damaged by a pothole, you can file a claim with the MDOT office using this form. This is for claims up to $1000 only.