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Don't Let Potholes Puncture Spring Fun

(NewsUSA) - Many of us eagerly await the arrival of spring every year. But once the spring showers wash away what's left of winter, often we are left dodging potholes on the roads.

Potholes form as pavement ages and weathers. The pavement eventually begins to lose its ability to resist water, and small cracks start to appear. As water works its way down into the cracks and expands as it freezes, it pushes up on the pavement. The weight of cars and trucks can break up this uneven pavement, creating a pothole.

Hitting a pothole can easily ruin your beautiful spring day, not to mention your tires or wheels. The sharp impact caused by hitting a pothole can cause immediate tire or wheel failure. Or, internal damage could eventually lead to tire failure weeks or months later. Despite the dangers of potholes, there are measures you can take:

* Start with proper tire inflation. Keeping your tires properly inflated will help reduce damage from potholes and other road hazards.

* Check the tread on your tires, because uneven wear can be a sign of misalignment. Hitting potholes can affect your vehicle's alignment. If you feel your car "pulling" to one side during driving, that's a sign that you could have a problem. Have your Firestone Complete Auto Care service professional make sure your wheels and tires are properly aligned and balanced.

* If you can't avoid hitting a pothole, do not brake during the impact. Instead, try to apply brakes before hitting and release them just prior to impact. Braking during the impact sets up the tire and wheel assembly for a "solid hit" against the edge of the hole. Severe damage can be better avoided when a tire is rolling, rather than skidding, over a hole during braking.

Just as you undertake spring cleaning to get your house in order, take advantage of the warmer weather to make sure your tires and vehicle are also in the best possible condition. Properly maintaining your tires includes proper rotation, inflation, repair and replacement.

Remember to check your tire pressure at least once a month and be sure to rotate your tires according to recommendations in your owner's manual. Following these simple maintenance tips can help you avoid the pitfalls of wet driving conditions or dreaded potholes.

Trisha Hessinger, an automotive education specialist and former race car driver, is a national spokeswoman for Firestone Complete Auto Care's award-winning Car Care Academy program. For details on the program and more about Hessinger, visit www.FirestoneCompleteAuto Care.com.





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