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The Cost of Jamaican Potholes

The Cost of Jamaican Potholes

What are the true cost of potholes to Jamaican motorists every year? Not only in money, but wasted time and the cost of life and injuries because of avoiding potholes?

Did you know that in the United States car owners spend a collective $3 billion US dollars each year to repair damages caused by potholes. If that is what it costs in the US with first world quality roads, can you imagine what it cost in Jamaica?

Shock manufacturers recommend changing your shocks every 4 years or every 50,000 miles. This recommendation was done after rigorous tests and studies on first world road conditions. For Jamaican road users, it could be much shorter.

Potholes can damage your suspension.  A car suspension is designed to absorb impacts and stabilize the vehicle, but there’s a limit to how much it can handle. Sudden, jarring hits against potholes can cause a variety of suspension problems, including misalignment, broken or bent parts, and damaged shocks or struts. Suspension bent out of alignment can usually be put back into place by a qualified mechanic, but until it’s fixed you may notice your steering wheel is off center, your car pulls in one direction, the handling feels loose, and your tires wear unevenly. Unusual vibrations and sounds, wandering steering, poor ride quality, or the vehicle leaning to one side can indicate damaged parts. It can be difficult to correctly diagnose suspension damage, so it’s best to have an experienced mechanic inspect the entire system if you notice any of these symptoms. Dropping in one of Jamaica’s crater size potholes can take out your shocks immediately & could also cost you a tyre or two.

How to Minimize Damage Caused by Potholes

Ensure Tires are properly inflated: The tire is an important cushion between a car and a pothole.  Ensure tires have sufficient tread and are properly inflated. The inflation pressure may be found on a sticker on the door frame or owner's manual.

Be alert: Check the road ahead for potholes 

Slow down: If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce your speed. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels and suspension components.

Beware of puddles: A puddle of water can disguise a deep pothole. Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes.

Inspect suspension: Make certain struts and shock absorbers are in good condition. Changes in vehicle handling, excessive vibration or uneven tire wear can indicate bad shocks or struts. Have the suspension inspected by a certified technician if you suspect problems.

Check alignment: Hitting a pothole can knock a car's steering out of alignment. If a vehicle pulls to the left or right, have the wheel alignment checked by a qualified technician.

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