Pothole Full of WaterEveryone thinks their city or state has the worst potholes. But Missouri (and its 34,000 miles of roadways) actually does have the worst potholes in the country, according to a recent study per Springfield News-Leader. Decades of underfunding and lackadaisical pothole repair planning have exacerbated the issue—an issue which plagues much of the Midwest, not just Missouri, mind you—and drivers are feeling a wallet-sized twinge of pain at the tire shop as a result.

However, poor planning from government doesn’t automatically mean you have to be a poor driver. Here are some tips to help you avoid hitting potholes and damaging your car. (Godspeed!)

10. Tips to Avoid Pothole Damage

1. Stay Alert

Defensive driving is your friend during pothole season. Keep your peepers on the road and pay attention to how other vehicles react. If they swerve to avoid an object, it’s more than likely a pothole.

2. Give Yourself Extra Space

Don’t tailgate or drive too closely to other vehicles—it’s dangerous and you can’t see any potholes in the road. Put at least 3 seconds of following distance between you and the next car.

3. Avoid Puddles

Puddle on RoadThat puddle in the road might be small or it could be halfway-to-Earth’s-core deep—stay away from all puddles, just to be safe.

4. Inflate Your Tires

Pothole tire damage is most common when tires are underinflated or overinflated. An underinflated tire, for instance, can result in a bent rim and go flat after hitting a big pothole; overinflated tires can literally pop, which is incredibly dangerous, especially at high speeds.

Check your owner’s manual or the side of your car’s door jamb for recommended tire PSI. If you’re not able to use an air compressor, you can always have your auto service center check your tire pressure and fill you up. 

5. Don’t Brake

While it may seem intuitive, braking while approaching a pothole is one of the worst things you can do. Braking stops your wheels from spinning, and all the force applied to your tire from a pothole will be placed in one spot.

6. Slow Down

To carry over from the previous tip, instead of braking, try to slow down and accelerate through the pothole. This will help lessen the impact and spread it out across the tire’s surface.

7. Inspect Your Suspension

Even before spring’s pothole Armageddon, you should get your routine car maintenance and have your suspension inspected. Your service tech or mechanic can identify any damaged or faulty components that would be a quick, easy, cheap fix—especially compared to the cost of suspension repair due to potholes.

8. Get New Tires

If your tires haven’t been changed since the Bush administration, it’s time to do so. Bad tires with low tread depth not only make slick roads slicker, but they can also go flat on even the smallest pothole. Driving on old tires is dangerous, as you’d imagine, and can lead to expensive pothole repair to wheels, rims, axles and more.

Need a price on a set of car tires in Joplin? Simply contact Roper Honda for a quote and to schedule an appointment.

9. Report Potholes

1000 × 667If you serendipitously find a pothole that’s been sent straight from Hell, don’t let other drivers feel the pain. You can report that pothole to our state’s Department of Transportation, and they will (maybe) patch it up.

You have several ways to report potholes in Joplin, MO, including:

10. Change Lanes

If one side of the road is a pothole-infested disaster zone, and the other is clear, you know what to do.

Don’t Wait to Repair Pothole Damage

Tire Repair in Joplin, MO
A hard impact with a curb or pothole can throw your wheels out of alignment, blow out a tire, dislodge rims, or even break your suspension. Repair costs for potholes can vary, but it’s important to get your vehicle fixed before the damage becomes much more extensive and expensive.

Common Signs of Pothole Damage

  • Off-center steering wheel
  • Strange car noises (clanking, grinding or squealing are most common)
  • Steering wheel shakes
  • Vehicle pulls to one side
  • Poor handling
  • A flat tire that never stays full
  • Bent rims

If you’ve become the victim of a devious pothole in Joplin, Neosho or Springfield, we can help. Contact our Joplin auto service center and tire shop at (417) 625-0800 to get your car inspected for pothole damage.

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