Avoiding Pothole Damage

Due to consistent snowfall this winter, drivers in the northeast are reporting that roads are littered with potholes. Read on for information on how potholes cause damage and how to prevent it.

Let’s┬ábegin with a brief explanation of how a tire is damaged by a pothole. Most motorists don’t realize that simply hitting the pothole itself does not damage the tire. What actually causes the damage is the action of the sidewall of the tire becoming pinched between the edge of the pothole and your vehicle’s wheel. This type of damage is know in the tire industry as “pinch shock”. You can find an excerpt from the Michelin tire damage guide below.


So, how do you prevent your tire from being “pinched”? It’s simple! Make sure your tires are inflated to your vehicle’s recommended pressure. Under-inflated tires are much more susceptible to pothole damage. The more pressure you have in your tire the more your tire resists being compressed. If your tires can’t easily be compressed, they have less chance of being pinched by a road-hazard like a pothole.

Don’t overdo it! Too much pressure in your tires can also be trouble. Your tires and vehicle’s suspension are designed to work together to absorb inconsistencies in the road. Adding too much pressure to your tires will cause your wheels and suspension to take more impact from striking a pothole, resulting in a bent wheel or suspension component.

It is best to inflate your tire to the recommend pressure for your vehicle. You can find the correct pressure for your vehicle on the Tire Information Placard located on the driver’s door jamb. (See sample placard below) Note that the specified pressure should be checked when your tires are as close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit as possible.

In the end, the best way to avoid pothole damage is to avoid potholes. However, with the current condition of the roads in northeastern states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, it may be challenging to do so. Good luck out there and drive safe!

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