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One Way to Mitigate Pothole Damage

John Day

John Day

Posted Mar 24, 2014

Now that the snow is finally starting to melt, it seems that potholes are everywhere. It makes sense to drive slowly and avoid them wherever possible because they can do serious damage to cars – $5 billion per-year worth in the U.S., by some estimates; several hundred dollars per-year for the average vehicle owner.

“Drivers know immediately when they hit a pothole, but what they don’t know is if their vehicle has been damaged in the process,” says Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “While tires and wheels can be visually checked, potholes can also cause considerable damage to the steering, suspension and alignment systems that you just can’t see.” Potholes are estimated to cause the average motorist several hundred dollars per-year.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) explains that potholes occur when snow and ice melt as part of seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. The resulting water seeps beneath the pavement through cracks caused by the wear and tear of traffic. As temperatures cool to freezing at night, the water becomes ice and expands below the pavement, forcing the pavement to rise. As the weight of traffic continues to pound on the raised section – and the temperatures climb again above freezing – a shallow divot occurs under the surface and the pavement breaks, forming a pothole. A pothole is typically fixed by cleaning out the loose debris and filling it with hot and cold asphalt patch.

One way to mitigate pothole damage? Buy a Lincoln MKZ. Among its standard features is a continuously controlled damping (CCD) suspension said to provide some protection against jarring impact and costly wheel/tire repairs.

CCD has 12 sensors that can read nearly 50 inputs from road conditions in two milliseconds. In normal conditions, the CCD system provides real-time data to adjust the shocks quickly for an optimum blend of ride and handling.

Pothole Algorithm Software

When a pothole is detected and a wheel drops rapidly, specially developed pothole algorithm software applies additional damping to the shocks to keep the tire and wheel from dropping as deeply into the pothole. The result is a less-harsh reaction. Because the tire and wheel don’t drop as deeply into the pothole, the tire and wheel don’t strike the opposite side of the pothole as harshly, mitigating the effects of many events.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out, and slow down.

Lincoln MKZ, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), continuously controlled damping (CCD), potholes, sensors

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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