Looking at Potholes

It is pothole season. In Indiana we grow corn and soy beans and even wheat but those are all crops that are harvested in the summer or fall. The new crop of potholes, chuckholes or if you prefer ruts, road trenches, or Indiana underground missile silos has appeared. Usually they don’t show up until March or even April but with the freeze and thaw and wild fluctuations in temperature they have shown themselves. For any of you living in warm and tropical climates, the pothole forms when water penetrates the road surface through small cracks in the road and then freezes and thaws repeatedly. This in effect fractures the road material and once vehicles repeatedly travel across the damaged spot a pothole forms. This hole initially is filled with particles of either asphalt or cement in varying sized chunks. As traffic passes over it the filler is compacted (and further ground into a sand like consistency) which is removed by the friction of tires or washed out of the depression. Eventually it gets deeper and and deeper and often larger. Once it becomes large enough to swallow a car tire, it turns dangerous. The pothole can cause a tire to rupture, bend tire rims, bounce off hubcaps, and even bend or break axles.

I am not sure when it happened and I can’t tell you where it happened (although I suspect it was on Eddy Street). But I found a pothole. The result is that my tire is bumped and bulging in a distinctly unnatural way. It didn’t handle any differently and the tire pressure was fine. However it worried me. I had Sparky take a look at it and he determined that he would take it to the tire store and have them look at it. At first the thought was that the metal cords that run through the tire were split – kind of a tire hernia but without the ability to repair it. However it wasn’t the tire. In fact the tire was fine and didn’t need to be replaced. They examined the rim, I wasn’t there, and discovered that it was bent. The tire people were amazed that I had been driving on it and the tire hadn’t gone flat. It is not an inexpensive repair. They will have to order a rim and then we can schedule the swap of the old rim for a new rim. In the mean time I’ve been told it is safe to drive on but to avoid hitting any potholes! Like that is in my power – I’m worried that I’ll be calling Sparky to come fix a flat tire one of these evenings on my way home…

12 thoughts on “Looking at Potholes

  1. We have potholes too — no freezes, but once the water gets in through cracks it destroys the under-structure. Cracked roads are a major infrastructure issue.


  2. Been there (bent rim) paid through the nose for that. I hit a weird curb coming into my sister’s condo development that was hidden in the snow. Yikes! If the potholes don’t get ya… (Love the Indiana Missile Silo–that’s a new one for me!)


    1. Yes the snow is devious that way. First it fills in the pot holes so you don’t know they are there until it is too late and then it obscures other hazards for good measure. I’m hoping the tire holds a little longer until the rim come in.


  3. Val, the pot holes have been the bane of my life it seems. A few years back my SUV kept getting irrational tire pressure problems, and with my car, taking it into the dealer, just to have then look at the problem, was a couple of hundred bucks down the drain, or pot hole. Finally , a mechanic at the MB dealership told me that pot holes can cause some shift in the tire/rim alignment, and cause the dashboard to show the light, suggesting that there was a problem. Now I try to avoid them as much as possible, even to the extent of going in the opposite lane!!


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