Be Aware of Pothole Damage

BETHESDA, Md., March 2 /PRNewswire/ — With spring’s melting of ice and snow comes one of your car’s worst enemies — potholes. Caused by repeating cycles of extreme freezing and thawing, potholes can damage a vehicle’s ride control system. The Car Care Council recommends that you have the shocks and/or struts checked to make sure no damage occurred during the winter months.

Shocks and/or struts control how a vehicle rides and handles. According to the Car Care Council, the shock absorbers, or struts as they are referred to on late model vehicles, act as a cushion to dampen the bouncing action of your car’s springs. The springs absorb the road bumps. Without them, the vehicle would continually bounce and bound down the road, making driving extremely difficult. Shocks and struts control spring and suspension movement to keep the tires in contact with the road, and that affects steering, stability, and braking. A broken shock or strut could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create driving dangers.

It’s important to be aware of the warning signs that you may need to have your shocks and/or struts replaced:

* Vehicle rolls or sways on turns
* Front end dives when braking
* Rear end squats when accelerating
* Vehicle bounces or slides sideways on a winding, rough road
* Vehicle “bottoms out” (with a thump) on bumps
* Vehicle sits lower in the front or rear
* Leaking, rusting, dents or other signs of physical damage
* Loss of directional control during sudden stops

Many components contribute to the handling characteristics of your vehicle. Having your vehicle inspected if you experience any of the above signs is good preventive maintenance and can help parts wear less and last longer.

“If you think you may have a worn out or broken shock or strut, don’t wait. Whether you replace it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, this situation should be taken care of right away,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “A damaged shock or strut not only affects the ride comfort and control of the vehicle, but can affect its braking effectiveness, too.”

A free service interval vehicle schedule is available at the Car Care Council’s Web site, http://www.carcare.org/. The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign, educating consumers about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair.

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