Potholes - how do they damage your car?
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Hitting potholes at low speeds reduces damage to your car (especially for lowered rides). Here are some common pothole damages and how to look out for them.

Category: Miscellaneous Advice

Potholes are the worst.

While we Singaporeans are lucky to have excellent infrastructure that gives us smooth roads, sometimes you meet the occasional pothole.

Any driver who's gone over a pothole before will tell you that damages sustained from one may vary from car to car. Also, damages from potholes are not claimable by insurance.
What are potholes?

It's easy to not notice potholes on the road, especially if you're driving at a higher speed
Potholes begin as small cracks in the road. These cracks get bigger from water seepage and the continuous pressure from heavy vehicles. Over time, certain parts of the road weaken and collapse, forming a pothole.

Generally, the more it rains, the more likely potholes will form.

If you've hit a big pothole, and you felt it strike the undercarriage or bumper of your car, pull over at a safe area and inspect your car for damages.
What are the signs of pothole damages?

Here's how to tell if the pothole has damaged your car:
  • Body or chassis
A lowered car looks cool and handles better but, it also means if you hit a pothole, the chances of damages to your bumper, undercarriage and side skirts increase.

Ask your preferred dealer for Sgcarmart Warranty
Remember to ask your dealer to include the warranty before you commit to the car purchase!

Getting a paint correction done for your car will set you back around $200 on average. Here are 12 recommended Spray Painting shops to transform your car with bespoke colours if you're clueless about where to go.
  • Exhaust
Exhaust pipes run along the undercarriage, making it highly susceptible to pothole damage
The exhaust pipes run along the undercarriage, making it highly susceptible to pothole damage.

As you're looking for scratches and dents on the exhaust pipe, check for muffler and catalytic converter displacement. If something sounds loose, you have a problem.

If you see no visible damages but experience a loss of power - Get it checked asap.
  • Tyre and wheels
Tyres may blow-out driving over deeper potholes at high speeds
Potholes can cause cracks and bends on rims which will mess up with your wheel alignment and prevent your car from travelling smoothly.

Your tyres may also experience a sudden blow-out due to sidewall damage. Invest in a TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System). It's an excellent investment (not sponsored) and can save you lots of money and worry in the long run.
  • Steering
If something feels off with your steering, bring your car to a workshop immediately
If your wheel alignment is off, your steering might feel off as well.

If your steering feels less responsive or loose, get a tow truck to bring your car to a workshop. Don't try and wing it.

If you start to feel that your car starts to deviate off course when you're driving in a straight line, it means there's a misalignment somewhere that needs fixing. 
  • Suspension
Your suspension system cushions bumps and humps on the road, so you get a comfortable ride. If your ride experience starts getting rough, some part of your suspension (springs, shock absorbers, ball joints) might be damaged.

Or it could also mean that your shock absorbers might be due for a change.
What should you do if you can't avoid a pothole?

If you do spot a pothole, don't jam your brakes, as you might cause an accident
Some potholes are hard to spot due to how fast you're going, weather conditions, bad eyesight etc. If you do manage to spot one while driving, you should:
  • Reduce your speed
  • Ease up on the brakes
  • Let your suspension absorb the shock (unless you've installed coilovers. You feel everything with coilovers)
  • Brace yourself for the impact
  • Report the pothole to LTA (via the MyTransport.SG or OneService application)
Always remember, going over a pothole at a low speed reduces the risk of damage to your car and your finances.

Here are some related articles that might interest you

Top 8 car breakdown problems in Singapore

7 signs you need a car battery replacement

Balding tyres make you a road hazard for other drivers

Car detailing services you should consider besides a regular car wash

The six most common myths when it comes to brakes

Ask your preferred dealer for Sgcarmart Warranty
Remember to ask your dealer to include the warranty before you commit to the car purchase!
  • Eligible for all passenger cars less than 15 years old
  • You can get this warranty through most car dealers in Singapore
  • Partnership with PIT & GO, a fully backed workshop by the Toyota group of companies.

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