Published on Thu, 04/30/2009 by Be Car Care Aware

Why do so many potholes occur in the spring?

They seem to pop up by magic almost overnight. Spring temperatures warm the cold pavement, melting and evaporating any ice. This creates air pockets that can eventually cause the pavement to break up. A winter of heavy snow or rain and several freeze-thaw cycles can mean a big pothole season ahead!

Most drivers are familiar with the unexpected jolt associated with running over a pothole. This can result in some costly repairs including the potential of damage to a vehicle's suspension components. As well, hitting even one especially severe pothole could alter the alignment of a wheel and cause uneven tire wear. Uneven tire wear means the tire will need to be replaced sooner than necessary.

Car Care Canada offers these tips to help protect vehicles against a pothole encounter:

• Maintain full air pressure in all tires to provide as much cushion as possible between the pothole and the rim of the tire.

• Watch for potholes by leaving plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Before swerving around a pothole, be sure to check surrounding traffic.

• If you can't avoid a pothole -- at least slow down! Hitting a pothole at high speed increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels, shocks, struts or springs.

• When driving over a pothole-filled road, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control.

• Do not brake when directly over a pothole. Applying the brakes causes the car's weight to shift to the front of the wheel and can increase damage from the impact.

• A broken shock or strut from a pothole encounter could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create dangers when driving at high speeds or in tight corners. Broken suspension components should be repaired immediately.

For more information about vehicle maintenance visit www.carcarecanada.ca.