If you’ve driven in Kansas City for a while, you’ve seen one – a pit in the middle of the road that seems like it could swallow your car whole. But potholes are more than an inconvenience. They can be dangerous, and they can cause significant damage to your car. Learn more about where potholes come from and how to avoid – or fix – the damages they create.

Where do Potholes Come From?

The answer to the question of “What is a pothole?” might seem obvious. It’s just a hole in the road, right? But the answer to the question of where they come from is a bit more complicated.

The process to create a pothole is pretty simple and has just a few steps:

  • First, gradual wear and tear creates cracks in the surface of the road.
  • Water from rain, ice, or snow gets into the cracks.
  • During cold weather, the water in the cracks freezes. When water freezes it expands, pushing the cracks apart and making them wider.
  • The ice thaws and melts, and the cracks fill back up with more water.

Over many cycles of freezing and thawing, a pothole that started as a tiny crack can grow into a huge pit in the road. Cars and trucks also make potholes form faster. The wear they cause as they drive over the same piece of road can force the cracks apart and make the pothole form faster.

Once the road starts to crack, a pothole will eventually form. The only way to prevent a pothole from forming, or to fix one that has already formed, is to fill the cracks so water cannot get inside.

What Makes Potholes Dangerous?

Of course, a hole in the road isn’t that dangerous by itself. But the problem with potholes is that most drivers don’t expect them. When you hit one, it almost always comes as a surprise, and surprises while driving are usually bad. Many drivers will panic when they hit a pothole and either slam on their brakes or swerve unexpectedly. This can cause more serious accidents if you aren’t careful.

Of course, potholes can also damage your car on their own. If you do hit a pothole while driving, you could see many types of damage, such as:

  • Flat or damaged tires
  • Cracked or bent wheels
  • Poor wheel alignment 
  • Suspension damage
  • Body panel damage
  • Engine and exhaust problems

Some of these types of damage are easy to spot. However, other kinds, such as damage to your tires or wheel alignment, can be harder to notice. If you recently hit a pothole, keep an eye out for any of these symptoms of pothole damage:

  • Cracks or blisters on your tires
  • Uneven tire wear
  • Bends or cracks in your wheel’s rim
  • Changes to your car’s engine or exhaust sounds
  • Changes in the way your car steers or drives

Avoiding the Dangers of Potholes

The best strategy for dealing with potholes is to avoid them as much as possible. However, sometimes you will have to drive down a rough stretch of road. You should know how to prevent and avoid damage due to potholes as much as possible.

Go Slow

If you are on a street with a lot of potholes, the best thing you can do is slow down. Smaller potholes won’t cause damage when you drive through them slowly, and large ones are easier to spot and avoid when you aren’t moving fast.

Keep Moving Straight

When you have to drive through a pothole, it’s best to face it head-on. Turning your wheel while you’re in a pothole can cause damage to your tires, wheels, and suspension. Slow down and drive straight through until you’re over it completely.

Don’t Swerve

Sometimes you have time to see a pothole coming up, but not a lot of time to react. In these cases, it’s best not to swerve suddenly. When you swerve, you could cause a bigger accident than the one you’re trying to avoid. It’s always best to stay in control of your vehicle.

Get Professional Help

If you think a pothole may have caused damage to your car, don’t wait to get it checked. Bring your vehicle in to Anders Automotive to make sure there isn’t hidden damage putting you at risk.

Pothole Damage Repair in Kansas City

If your car is showing signs of damage after hitting a pothole in Kansas City, don’t ignore it. Contact us today at Anders Automotive. We can help get you back on the road and ensure your car is working right.