Hitting a pothole is an unmistakable experience. The sudden dip. The violent jarring. The sound of the impact!
For all of the bone-rattling involved, though, pothole damage can also be really sneaky. You’ll notice a flat tire or bent rim right away. Some other problems, however, might take you a little longer to identify.
Pothole damage to your shocks and struts can be especially subtle at first. But such damage can grow into very big, costly, and potentially dangerous issues. To help you watch for signs that your shocks or struts sustained pothole damage, we suggest running through our “OUCH!” checklist.
Does it seem like your steering wheel is pulling your vehicle to the left or right? Leaning in a certain way? If so, it might be a sign that your car is attempting to make amends — or compensate — for an alignment problem created by pothole damage to your struts.
U: Unusual sounds
Following your pothole collision, has your vehicle start making new, unusual sounds? Rattling, squeaking: things like that? If so, the impact might have blown a strut.
C: Crouch during braking
Does the vehicle demonstrate nosedive-like behavior when you apply the brakes? It might feel like the front end of your car dips down when you brake. This could strongly indicate the need for new shocks or struts.
H: Herky-jerky driving
Is your formerly nice ride now so harsh that you’re worried about spilling your morning coffee even on the smoothest streets? A car that used to handle the road easily but now drives rough — with more bouncing than before, maybe a side-to-side “body roll” — is perhaps calling out for pothole repair.
Here’s where we get the exclamation point of our OUCH! checklist: Damage to your car’s suspension is a safety issue, even when it’s not obvious.
If running through this checklist helps confirm your suspicions that your vehicle sustained pothole damage, there’s one remedy more effective than the rest. Bring your car to your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for a suspension and alignment inspection to help keep your ride on the straight and narrow!