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Pothole Season: Vehicle Damage Not Always Visible At First Glance

In 2016, nearly 30 million U.S. drivers experienced pothole damage significant enough to require repair, with repair bills ranging from under $250 to more than $1,000, according to an AAA survey.

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In 2016, nearly 30 million U.S. drivers experienced pothole damage significant enough to require repair, with repair bills ranging from under $250 to more than $1,000, according to an AAA survey.

But the cost of replacing flat tires and bent wheel rims is only part of the mix. Potholes also can damage steering and chassis components. Left unrepaired, these issues can lead to poor handling, premature wear and potentially unsafe operating conditions, according to ACDelco.

“A bulge in your tire or a bent rim are obvious signs of pothole damage, but chassis damage isn’t always visible at first glance,” said John Latner, ACDelco technical training manager.  “Drivers should not delay taking their vehicle to a mechanic if they notice vibrations, or clunking and grinding noises. Those can be signs of steering suspension damage and a possible safety issue.”

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The most frequently damaged chassis parts are steering and suspension parts such as bushings, control arms, ball joints, tie rods, shock absorbers and struts. To meet growing demand for chassis components, ACDelco has added more than 1,400 parts to its product lineup, including 500 this year and 900 last year. New parts include more than 200 bushings and more than 100 control arms, according to ACDelco.

“ACDelco Professional chassis products are designed, engineered and tested to deliver first-time fit, form and function,” said Craig Rombach, ACDelco OE brakes and chassis product specialist. “All our chassis parts are rigorously tested for impact, wear and fatigue, and carry competitive warranties.”

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In addition to asking for ACDelco parts for GM vehicles, owners should visit their local Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac Certified Service dealership or ACDelco professional service center for diagnostic tests and an overview of their vehicle’s health after hitting a pothole, Latner said.

Due to changing technologies, Latner recommends having a trained professional perform parts changes.

“In addition, any time you exchange parts, you should have your technician perform a wheel alignment to make sure there is a successful and complete repair,” he added.

For additional information on ACDelco parts, click here.

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