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How to Protect Your Car from Potholes!
by Car Care Council

Potholes!Springtime brings with it the beautiful echo of birds chirping into the wind and the repetitive thump of car after car coming face to face with this season’s driving challenge — potholes. The roads have just experienced several months of degenerative freezing and thawing cycles and now it’s time for drivers to pay the price of poor pavement.

Potholes can deflate a car’s performance in ways ranging from a misaligned front end to a complete tire blowout, and although there may not be a way to prevent these nasty road defects from forming on our city streets and highways, there are ways to reduce the potential damages motorists can cause to their tires.

“Regular tire maintenance and heightened driving awareness can dramatically affect the price driver’s pay on tire and wheel repairs,” said Tom Griffing, manager of Corporate Quality Assurance, Yokohama Tire Corporation. “It is always recommended that drivers adhere to a regular maintenance schedule and stay cognizant of factors such as tire pressure and tread condition. It also doesn’t hurt to stay focused on the road and obstacles ahead.”

Most commonly, drivers are churning the pavement with underinflated tires, a condition inducing many driving downfalls. Underinflated tires, especially upon impact with potholes, risk damage to the wheel itself and even potentially a complete tire blowout.

On the converse, overinflated tires run risks of their own. An overinflated tire, upon impact, can cause structural damage to the tire itself.

“The most important thing to remember is that visually inspecting a tire is not enough,” Griffing said. “A tire pressure gauge is the only effective way to be sure proper inflation has been met.”

Other indications that tires and alignment are in need of service include:

  • Noticeable bends/dents in wheels

  • Bumps protruding from the sidewall of the tire

  • Recurring loss of air pressure

  • Vibration in the wheel or in the feet and seat

  • The car’s front end wanders on a flat straight surface

This season, try to avoid potholes. If you can’t, remember that the best solution is to brake before impact and then roll through the obstruction at a low speed. Braking during impact only increases the damage passed to the vehicle.

For more information on tire safety visit the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) at www.rma.org. This year’s RMA sponsored tire safety week begins on April 27, 2003 and ends on May 3, 2003. The week is dedicated to educating drivers on the importance of tire safety and recommends that drivers have their tires checked once a month to ensure safer driving. Staying aware of your vehicle’s performance, and the driving conditions you are subjecting it to, is important to your safety. If you notice a change in the way your car is handling, see a tire service professional. Regular maintenance and preventive measures can significantly extend the life of your tires.

[Related Story: Tires: Most Important Part of Your Car]