Home > Ask Gary > How do our vehicles survive all those potholes after one of the worst winters ever?

How do our vehicles survive all those potholes after one of the worst winters ever?

potholeI have to agree with you on both issues, it was one of the snowiest winters and the resulting potholes seem to be everywhere. The media has called this year’s pothole situation an “epidemic” and an “explosion” caused by plows and dramatic changes in temperature.

I’ve also noticed more potholes than ever in parking lots, as well as streets and highways. While the state DPW has begun filling the potholes on the highways, it may take months for our roads to recover from this winter.

There’s no doubt that vehicles will sustain damage from the potholes. To help you avoid damage to your vehicle, I advise the following:

• Slow down— this will give you sufficient time to see a pothole ahead of time.
• Don’t tailgate— this leaves you too little to no reaction time to avoid a pothole.
• Be careful not to swerve to avoid the potholes unless you’re 100% sure there are no other vehicles in view.

Below is a list of damage that potholes can cause with the most common damage being to tires, rims and your vehicle’s alignment system:
• Tire puncture, damage or wear
• Wheel rim damage
• Premature wear on shocks and struts
• Suspension damage, including broken components
• Steering system misalignment
• Exhaust system damage
• Engine damage
• Undercarriage damage causing fluid leaks and wear leading to rust formation.

How do you know if there is damage you can’t see?  Your vehicle will:
• roll or sway when you turn
• experience front-end dives when braking
• have rear end squats when accelerating
• bounce  or slide  sideways on a winding or rough road
• thumps on bumps
• sit lower in the front or rear
• leak or have signs of physical damage, such as rust or dents
• lose directional control during sudden stops.

If you hit a pothole that possibly caused damaged, pull over and inspect your vehicle. In case damage resulted, take a photo of the pothole with your cell phone even if you can’t see any damage; make a note of the specific location. Pothole damage can be extensive. You have the option to file a claim with your insurance company, however, it will add “points” to your record similar to a collision; and you will have to pay your deductible and your rate may go up next year as a result of the claim. I recommend you consult with your insurance agent.

To report a nuisance pothole and get it filled quicker, the state has a new hotline for reporting potholes at  857-DOT-INFO. Since the hotline started in January, MassDOT says it has filled more than 800 potholes.

If you do have damage, do the research, as many cities and towns, including Boston, have a process to make a claim from potholes. Be sure to file as soon as possible, as most cities and towns have time limits for reimbursement.

If you hit a pothole and have any of the signs or symptoms listed above, please bring it in as soon as possible to the Jaffarian Volvo or Toyota Service Departments. If you are not able to drive the vehicle safely or popped a tire, call AAA and have your vehicle towed to a trusted shop. We hope you choose Jaffarian Volvo Service or Jaffarian Toyota Scion Service! Your safety is our most important concern.

Drive safely! Spring is right around the corner!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

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