Quick Tips to Protect Your Vehicle from Winter Potholes

Winter potholes can be caused by numerous factors including freezing rain, ice, and constantly fluctuating Colorado temperatures. These potholes can be responsible for vehicle damage resulting in costly repairs for drivers.

According to a recent 5 year study:

  • 16 million drivers have suffered pothole damage.

  • $15 billion was spent on pothole damage repairs (about $3 billion annually).

    • This includes things like tire punctures, bent wheels and even suspension damage.

  • Two thirds of drivers are concerned about potholes on their local roads.

  • On average, drivers report paying $300 to repair pothole-related damage.

What can you do??

🚙 Tires

     ⚙ Here are 3 simple tests to check the tread of your tires:

  • The Penny Test: Simply insert a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires.

  • The Quarter Test: Insert a quarter into your tread groove. If the tread touches Washington’s head, you have at least 4/32 inch of tread remaining.

  • Tread Wear Indicator: Don’t have any change on you? No problem. Another way to check tread depth is to look at the tread wear indicator bar that’s molded into most tires. The bars are located at the bottom of the tread grooves in several locations around the tire. When these bars become visibly flush with the adjacent ribs the tire has no more than 2/32″ of tread remaining. This is a visible indication that the tire should be replaced.

     ⛽ Tire pressure tips:

  • Check your tires “cold” – before you’ve driven or at least three hours after you’ve driven.

  • Insert tire pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire. Refer to your air pressure gauge owners manual for correct usage instructions. If using a “pencil” style tire gauge, the gauge will “pop” out and show a measured number. When you hear a “pssst” sound, that’s air escaping the tire. The escaping air shouldn’t affect pressure substantially, unless you hold down the air pressure gauge too long.)

  • Compare the measured psi to the psi found on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your vehicle or in owner’s manual. DO NOT compare to the psi on your tire’s sidewall.

  • If your psi is above the number, let air out until it matches. If below, add air (or have a Michelin retailer help you) until it reaches the proper number.

🚙 Driving

     👀 Stay alert and keep your eyes open:

  • Keep your eyes out for potholes while driving. Stay focused on the road and don’t get distracted.

  • Be aware of surrounding traffic and pedestrians in case you need to suddenly swerve to avoid a pothole.

  • If possible, safely reduce your speed for unavoidable potholes. Hitting a pothole at a higher speed increases the likelihood of damage.

  • Beware of puddles! They can disguise a deep pothole. Be careful when driving through puddles.

🚙 Damage

      🔧 Pay attention to your car:

  • If it starts to pull to the right or left, you may need to have the alignment checked.

  • If you notice unusual noises or vibrations, the wheel weights may have been dislodged, the wheels may have been damaged or the suspension components could even be bent or broken.


  1. https://www.propertycasualty360.com/2019/02/12/6-tips-to-protect-your-vehicle-from-winters-potholes/?kw=6%20tips%20to%20protect%20your%20vehicle%20from%20winter%27s%20potholes&utm_source=email&utm_medium=enl&utm_campaign=newsflash&utm_content=20190212&utm_term=pc360
  2. https://www.oregon.aaa.com/2016/02/pothole-damage-costs-u-s-drivers-3-billion-annually/
  3. https://www.goodyearautoservice.com/en-US/tire-basics/tread-depth
  4. https://www.michelinman.com/US/en/safe-driving/tire-safety/tire-pressure.html