Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Pothole protection

Published:Sunday | August 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Laranzo Dacres, Gleaner Writer

Potholes are probably the most abhorred road imperfections across the globe. While often causing damage to the motor vehicle's suspension, steering system and frame, potholes may result in the driver losing control and even death.

Company driver Keith Allen was a victim of one of these lurking dangers while driving in the Shooters Hill area of Manchester in his Toyota Caldina station wagon.

"It was just a month ago. The car just fell in the pothole and the tyre just burst same time!" he said. "The tyre was only a week old and it cost me $1,050 to get it vulcanised. It was a spare I had that saved me that day," he said.

Certified front end and brake specialist Mark Naylor lists the dangers of potholes.

"They cause tyre damage or bending of the vehicle's chassis leg or control arm. This normally occurs when the rim is extensively damaged," said Naylor of Spur Tree, Manchester.

The specialist advised the only way to navigate them safely is to stay within the speed limit and study your route to familiarise yourself with the road conditions.

Bad spots

"This will make you more aware of the road's bad spots," he said.

Naylor said after hitting a pothole, both tyres and rims should be inspected for damage as this can negatively affect the vehicle's smooth ride.

"When a vehicle is properly aligned, the steering wheel will be levelled when you are going straight ahead. However, if a pothole or anything else has affected the wheel alignment, the steering wheel will be crooked," Naylor told Automotives.

"This is the surest way to know that something is wrong. Anything else would be very logical and visible," he continued.

Wheel alignment specialist Wilfred Bramwell of Wilfred's Wheel Alignment Centre Ltd said after hitting a pothole, the difference in the feel of the car is oftentimes immediate.

"Immediately after you hit a pothole, the steering wheel will start to feel funny and the vehicle will start wobbling. This is an indication your car has sustained a pot damage," the alignment specialist said.

"This can also result in the squealing of tyres when going around a corner," he said .

Naylor said keeping the tyre pressure at three to four pounds per square inch can minimise damage.

"The increased air pressure will stiffen the tyre side walls giving your tyre a greater chance of surviving an impact. It will also give you a firmer ride," said Naylor.

- laranzo.dacres@gleanerjm.com