Memphis mechanic explains how potholes, snow and ice can damage your car

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As glad as we’ll be to see snow gone from our streets, we know all too well potholes will soon be dotting the roadways, creating a nightmare obstacle course.

At Gateway Tire and Service Center on Kirby-Whitten Road, mechanics know when the “rubber meets the road,” a pothole can be public enemy number one to your vehicle.

But manager Joel Pitchford says some motorists have already shown up with tire and alignment problems just after a few days of driving in snow.

“A lot of people have hit things and may not realize it yet because they’re not driving on a normal road to know it,” Pitchford said.

Read more: Winter storms leave behind potholes, potential flooding in Memphis

Hitting snow covered curbs or plowing into mounds of frozen snow can damage tire sidewalls or crack and bend custom wheels. As the “big thaw” finally starts, potholes will develop, and more vehicles will end up on one of Gateway’s service racks.

“You have control arms, tie rod ends, sway bar links, axles. There are a lot of different components in here that get damaged in potholes,” Pitchford said.

Striking a pothole can often be unavoidable, but Pitchford says drivers should never ignore signs your vehicle is in need of professional help.

“Some of the most common indications are going to be vibrations from your tires,” Pitchford said. “You could also have loss of air from any of your tires or pulling from one side to the other can indicate an alignment issue or suspension issue.”

He says repairs for damaged custom wheels can range from a $150 to $250 each but replacing suspension components can be a bit more “pricey.”

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