Let’s discuss something we have all done by mistake: hitting a curb. Whether we are distracted or just misjudge the distance, people brush or hit a curb on a daily basis. It is important to make sure to conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle right after the incident occurs. Depending on the type of curb and how hard you’ve hit it, you may have caused more damage than you realize. Checking the wheel alignment is one way to tell if you broke something, but it’s not the most accurate. Here are four things to check after hitting a curb.
It’s possible to bend or break your wheel. Most of the time you can get away with just a minor curb rash, while other times a major bend can cause your wheel to be uneven. There are two things which give off that distinct wobble sound as you’re driving along, and one of them is the wheel.
The second thing you should check is the wheel bearing. If you turn the wheel on a car with coil springs, you’ll be able to feel a twitch or movement. If you hear a strange noise, or can feel a jitter while driving, you may have damaged the wheel bearing. The abrupt force of a curb impact can easily damage the wheel bearing, so be sure to check it.
Go over the tire’s sidewall – be thorough, as sidewall damage isn’t always apparent. Look out for any kind of penetration or tear in the tire. If the damage isn’t serious it can go unnoticed – but be careful because an undetected damaged tire can cause a major blowout on the freeway. The belts inside the tire can bulge up from the impact, so be on the lookout for that as well.
The Struts, as robust as they are, absorb most of the impact when hitting a curb. Watch for a crease at the bottom of the strut tube or any kind of distortion sticking around from the bolts. The strut is, in a way, the car’s upper control arm as it holds everything together. Any kind of serious damage will have to be checked out by a mechanic, as it’s not an easy component to work on or replace.
Although hitting a curb is not a rare occurrence, this doesn’t mean that your car will be unharmed from the impact. If after reviewing the above you have any doubt at all, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your mechanic just to be sure everything is in working order!