Help, I Just Hit a Pothole!


It’s pothole season again—that time of year when winter and spring play tug-of-war, resulting in fluctuating temperatures that can wreak havoc on roads.


Hitting a pothole in the road can do more than rattle your teeth and spill your coffee.Potholes can puncture your tire or bend or crack your wheel. It can damage your tire’s sidewall internal; structure. It may even knock your vehicle out of alignment. A pothole strike can damage your shocks or struts, or harm your suspension.  So what should you do if you hit a pothole? Don’t ignore it—the bump can cause damage that may only get worse, says Jeff Cox, president of the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association. He recommends pulling over to a safe place and checking out the following parts of your car.


Give Your Vehicle a Quick Inspection


After hitting a pothole, check for any of the following signs of pothole damage.

  1. A bulge on the tire sidewall. This is an indicator that the tire was pinched between the edge of the pothole and the wheel causing the internal plies to be weakened or severed.
  2. Your steering wheel is no longer centered or the vehicle wants to pull to one side or the other. The impact may have been hard enough to affect the alignment or damage a steering or suspension component.
  3. You feel abnormal vibrations in the steering, seat or floor.
  4. You may hear a new noise when underway. Something may have been bent or displaced and could be rubbing on the tire/wheel assembly.
  5. A dashboard warning light appears.

How Badly Can Potholes Damage My Vehicle?

Hitting a pothole can cause bent wheel rims, internal tire damage, alignment problems, and shock and strut issues depending on the severity of the impact. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll puncture your tires or damage your vehicle, but if you have any concerns, get it inspected.

Below are some photos that show how potholes can damage wheels or rims.


Wheel damage from potholes
Wheel damage from potholes

Tire damage from potholes

Tire damage from potholes


When you take your vehicle to a tire technician or mechanic following a pothole impact, ask for an inspection that covers:

  • Wheels/steering knocked out of alignment
  • Damage to the tire’s steel belts
  • Intact tire balancing weights
  • Bent or cracked wheel rim
  • Damage to shocks and struts
  • Other broken suspension components

Tips to Minimize Pothole Damage


With summer and winter weather throughout the West impacting our roads, potholes are going to happen. Here’s what you can do to minimize the damage and possibly avoid these hazards.

  1. Always drive on tires that are properly inflated and in good condition. This will give you the best chance of absorbing the impact safely.
  2. Drive defensively. Slow down when you’re on an unfamiliar or rough road, and avoid distracted driving.
  3. Be alert to what’s ahead, and make sure you keep enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you so you can avoid issues.
  4. Recognize that though you might miss the first pothole, there may be another waiting.
  5. When you can’t avoid a pothole, take your foot off the gas and hold your steering wheel tightly. Don’t brake. This will allow you to maintain the most control during the impact.


TireButler Has Experience with Pothole Damage


We have seen plenty of pothole damage and can offer inspections and immediate roadside assistance including tire repair and or replacement. If you unfortunately happen to hit a pothole and need help. Call TireButler, we will come to you.


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