* 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.