We live in a small town that, for years, was considered the country. Slowly but surely, as more houses are built here, it’s going from semi-rural to suburban. But some of those old country roads just aren’t keeping pace.
If I’m not stopping to get the mail from our communal postal stand up the road, I take the new, paved route home. But on mail pick-up days, I end up on an ill-maintained country road that’s full of potholes.
When there’s no one else on the road — people walking their dogs, kids playing or other vehicles — it’s easy to play dodge-the-pothole. But when I have to share it with others, it’s either slow way the heck down or risk jolting my CUV into a series of cracks, divots and what sometimes feel like downright craters.
Signs of pothole damage
I didn’t know it at the time, but the eight years we spent living in Toronto (famous for its ridiculous number of potholes) wreaked havoc on my last car.
While I always managed to avoid the massive city potholes, there were plenty of small ones that were impossible not to drive through.
Oh sure, there are times when you absolutely know a pothole has done damage. Your tire could pop. Your rim could be damaged. Heck — the entire wheel could come off (and that’s kinda hard to miss). Yet overall, this kind of damage is actually a lot rarer.
It’s those small hits over time that are tricky.
A few smaller-scale pothole impacts each year don’t destroy a vehicle. But when you multiply repeated impact by a few years, you end up with wear and tear that can severely impede your ride’s suspension and compromise its safety.
And part of the problem these days is that you might not even know it, because well-made vehicles are now designed to reduce noticeable symptoms of damage.
How can you tell if your tires need aligning?
One of the most common issues of pothole damage over time is wheel alignment. That’s how I now know my first car was suffering.
And it’s not just potholes. Post-winter damage in general can create all kinds of alignment issues.
I was forever having problems with my car’s alignment after moving to Toronto. Did I do anything about it — other than contort my body to one side to compensate for it? Of course not. I chocked it up to driving a five-year-old vehicle.
Thanks to Kal Tire’s tips, I’m more aware of what to watch out for:
- Your vehicle feels like it’s “pulling” to one side
- Your front end “shimmies” after hitting a bump
- Your steering wheel no longer lines up straight
- Your tires show signs of uneven wear
Repairing pothole damage
The good news? If you diagnose a problem early, it can often be resolved. Let it worsen and not only will your repair costs probably increase, but you’re also messing with your safety.
Even better news: all Kal Tire locations across Canada offer a free-of-charge inspection any time a vehicle is brought in for service. The service inspection results are provided to customers like a report card, showing a vehicle’s health and areas that might be in need of attention or repair.
Methinks I’d better schedule a wheel alignment inspection for my CUV to see what damage winter driving on country roads has done to it.
Because having two hands on the wheel should be a choice… right?
DISCLAIMER: I was compensated for this post, which will obviously help me pay for a proper wheel alignment should I need one. All opinions mine, of course.