Astoria Mechanic | Collision Repair | Tolimas Auto Center

5 Types of Damage from Hitting Potholes

5 Types of Damage from Hitting Potholes

Potholes are everywhere in New York City and there are 5 types of damage we see in our customer’s cars after they tell us they hit a pothole and now hear a strange noise or the car drives weird.

#1 Bent Rims

Big Rims are common in more late model cars. It is common to see 19-20 inch rims in many passenger cars in the last 10 years especially performance models. Unfortunately large rims mean that there is less rubber tire to cushion for the metal rim when your car hits a pothole. If the pothole is deep enough or manages to catch the edge of the lip on your rim you’ll have a bent rim.
Symptoms of a bent rim can be; vibrations at highway speeds or the tire losing air. Sometimes the bent rim and tire can hold air, but if you continue driving on a bent rim it is easier to permanently damage the tire or develop a crack in the metal where the rim was bent. We at Tolima’s Auto Center offer a bent rim refurbishing service for $180 per rim.

#2 Tire Bubbles

Tire with damaged steel belt
Tire Bubble

Inside your tires there is an inner weaved metal structure that allows your tires to support the weight of your car and occupants. When you hit a pothole this inner structure can be damaged forming a bubble on the outside of your tire. This can be very dangerous as the tire can easily blow out if the bubble pops. At highway speeds this can cause accidents. There is no way to repair this kind of damage to the tire and it must simply be replaced.

#3 Leaking Struts

The struts control the bounce of your vehicle’s suspension. If the impact from the pot hole is strong enough it can blow the seals in your strut and it will start to leak. At this point the strut will no longer be able to dampen the bounce and sway from your car driving on the roads. The symptoms for this will manifest in your car suspension getting bouncy and harder to control your car at highway speeds.

#4 Damaged Wheel Bearings

The wheel bearing are a high stress suspension component as it is designed to handle all the stress of accelerating and braking as well as the weight of your car. Hitting a pothole can damage a wheel bearing and cause a clicking or whirring sound at highway speeds. If this is ignored the wheel can literally fly off the car while the car is in motion. This is one of those repairs that you need to do sooner rather than later.

Perfect Example of a bad Wheel Bearing from a very entertaining YouTube Mechanic Rainman Ray’s Repairs

#5 Bent Suspension Arms

After hitting a pothole if the car no longer drives straight or you have to hold the steering wheel in an off center position to get the car to drive straight then chances are you have a bent control arm. Your car’s suspension is made of multiple links that tie your suspension to the body of your car. These links can bend if you hit a pothole hard enough. Once a control arm is bent your car’s alignment will no longer be in factory spec. Your car will now be harder to drive straight and you’ll experience accelerated tire wear as your alignment is now off.

Potholes can cause hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage to your car’s suspension. There are other types of damage that we have seen occur on customer’s cars, but these are the most common. Luxury cars have more complex suspension systems for better handling so expect to budget more money for repairs on luxury or sports cars. If you have any questions or comments feel free to Contact Us @ Tolima’s Auto Center.

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