How To Survive the West Michigan Pothole Season

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It's that time of year again: as the winter weather in West Michigan gives way to an early spring freeze-thaw cycle, potholes will start to appear en-masse across Grand Rapids motorways. Seasoned drivers may get very adept at spotting them and avoiding them - especially if they travel the same route every day - but hitting one is inevitable. The Borgman Service Center is here to help with some tips to avoid damaging your wheels or suspension should driving through one be unavoidable. If your vehicle is damaged by a big one (or several small ones) we have the knowledge and experience to make the necessary repairs and get you back on the road.

What Components Can Be Damaged by a Pot Hole?

When your wheels strike a pothole, sometimes nothing happens. The tires will cushion the blow, and the suspension will absorb the worst of it - they're doing their job of keeping the vehicle stable and absorbing shock. However, if the force of the collision is stronger than these components can withstand, you may see cracks or pieces of the tire missing, dents or cracks in your rim, bent or broken suspension and steering components such as tie rods, control arms, shocks, or struts, or any other part that connects the wheels to your vehicle.

After hitting a particularly nasty pothole, this list will give you an idea of what to watch out for if your vehicle "feels different" or if you suddenly find yourself with a flat tire. If you're unsure what to look for, trust the experts at Borgman to give your vehicle a thorough inspection for any hidden damage.

Where Do Potholes Come From? Why Does West Michigan Have So Many?

Potholes are like mini sinkholes that form when water seeps into cracks in asphalt and then freezes. Water is somewhat special that when it freezes it expands, and with a lot of force to boot. This forces the cracks in the road open wider, allowing more water to get beneath it and wash out the sand and gravel under the asphalt. Eventually, the road gives way and we're left with a pothole.

West Michigan is especially prone to potholes because of the effect Lake Michigan has on our weather. Our spring seasons are usually punctuated with bouts of snow and rain, sometimes in the same day. This is the worst-case scenario for asphalt, leading to the dreaded pothole season West Michigan motorists wish they weren't accustomed to.

The Best Way To Drive Through a Pothole

Unfortunately, there are some instances where you see a pothole and can't safely move around it. Borgman suggests following MDOT's advice here: hit the brakes, then release them just before impact and drive straight through. Hitting a pothole on an angle will often do more damage to your vehicle, as force gets transferred in ways your suspension can't compensate for, or your tires can't spread out the impact from.

The Michigan Department of Transportation also recommends that if you see a nasty pothole, the best thing you can do to help other motorists is to report it online

Hit a Pothole? Trust the Experts at the Borgman Service Center in Grand Rapids, MI

If you've run over a pothole in West Michigan recently and you're noticing some new sounds or your vehicle is handling differently, Schedule an Inspection today at the Borgman Service Center. Our highly-trained and friendly staff will inspect your vehicle for signs of damage and will make honest recommendations based on what they find. We offer expert service for all of your other vehicle needs too, including oil changes, tire rotation, alignments, and more. It'd be our pleasure to serve you. Come see why we're the Best in the West!
Categories: Parts, Service, News
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