LISTEN: Holes in the road can mean holes in your wallet

Repairs to front-end components damaged by slamming into potholes can be costly

City of Toronto crews work on repairing a pothole
Photo: CTV News

Just because your brand new cross-over hybrid comes equipped with radar, can parallel-park by itself and can turn up the volume on the radio if you ask, it's still no match for that pothole you just slammed into while doing 80kph.

Automotive expert & licensed Class-A mechanic Alan Gelman says your vehicle can take a beating in the Spring months so you need to be aware of the feedback your it gives you.

Gelman, who co-owns GlennAlan Motors in the Downsview area, says if your vehicle starts to 'pull' or 'wander' when you try to drive straight ahead, it is almost certain there's a problem.  

He adds you should visit your mechanic if you can feel your steering wheel vibrate at highway speeds.  

Gelman says sometimes it is the problem you do not feel or hear that might take you off the road, making regular inspections by a licensed mechanic so important to keeping you safe as possible behind the wheel.  

Gelman says the parts in your vehicle that help you steer, like control arms, ball joints, wheel bearings, and even brake sensors are the ones that take the brunt of the impact when you hit a pothole.  

He says a typical repair for these components can cost about $1,000 -- a repair Gelman says used to cost half as much when cars were more simple machines.  

Gelman explains that in newer vehicles, car makers sacrifice durability for fuel economy by using lighter but more fragile materials.  

He says that means parts can be more susceptible to failure than the ones in older vehicles.  

Gelman also points out that equipping your car or truck with winter tires will also help your vehicle absorb the impact of driving over a pothole.  The side-walls are taller and steel rims are more durable -- and less expensive to replace, if they get damaged.

Gelman says his team at GlennAlan is already tending to vehicles that have lost battles with potholes.

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