Potholes hurt your car and wallet

Consumer Reports

Cheaper gas and warmer temperatures will likely mean more drivers hitting the road in the coming weeks. In some communities it also means more drivers facing an obstacle course of potholes. An encounter with a pothole can leave damaged tires, wheels and suspension parts. Past studies have shown that the average damage can put a big dent in drivers’ pocketbooks – costing anywhere from $300 to $700, if not more.

“Freezing and thawing cycles allow moisture to seep into the road surface, which causes the road to crumble,” said State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson. “Keeping your eyes on the road ahead is good for your car and your wallet.”

State Farm suggests taking the following steps to reduce your chances of hitting a pothole

. Try to limit your travel to roads you know very well. That knowledge could keep you from hitting a pothole and seriously damaging your car.

When driving at night, travel on well-lit roads.

. Slow down. Give yourself a chance to see the pothole and avoid it.

. If you hit a pothole, carefully inspect your tires and wheels for possible damage. Note how your car handles in the aftermath. If it pulls in a particular direction or you feel a wobble in the steering, have a mechanic check it out.

If you are unfortunate enough to hit a pothole and your vehicle is damaged, there are a couple of ways to address your issues

. The damage done to your car would generally be covered under the collision portion of your auto insurance and subject to the deductible. Tires are NOT covered if that is the only part of the vehicle that is damaged.

. Contact the governing agency responsible for the street where the pothole is located.