You roll into your driveway every evening from work. You roll out every morning. You may be worried about the damage that’s being done to your driveway, especially when you see small cracks or small holes begin to appear. You know it’s only a matter of time before the weight of your car combined with the elements causes some major damage – and sticks you with a large repair bill.
What you may not know is your driveway can turn the tables and could be causing damage to your car. It’s doing this in sneaky ways that can add up to huge costs later down the road.
Damage That Can Be Caused By Your Driveway
A gravel driveway may be cheaper to lay down, but the long-term costs to your vehicle may outweigh any short-term savings you achieve.
- Those tinier particles of gravel can scratch and scrape your paint finish on the lower half of your car. Over time, this can dull your paint job. That’s the smaller concern. If this scrape goes deep enough, it leaves the surface open to allow water to get in…and then you have rust, which is a much more serious and difficult problem to solve.
- Tiny particles can also cause scrapes on the underside of your vehicle. They can also become lodged in parts of your vehicle. For instance, they can become jammed in your brake system, causing noises. They also contribute to the wearing down of your brake pads.
- If larger particles become dislodged, they can chip, crack or even break your windshields or mirrors.
- Gravel shifts over time and with prolonged movement over it. Pockets may form where water and melted snow can collect. This exposes the underside of your car to more water than it should be and can create problems with rust later on. The uneven driving surface these pockets create can cause damage to your tires, shocks, and even your chassis as you drive over them continually.
Driving Over A Curb
Maybe you need to drive over a curb to get into and out of your home. This one requires careful maneuvering, especially if it is a rolled curb and your vehicle is low clearance.
What happens is, your vehicle is touching this surface repeatedly, and it is gradually scraping away protective coatings at the bottom of your car. This will result in rust formation.
Hitting a curb, even at low speeds, can potentially damage several structures in your car-and this is after one time. If the curb is directly in front of your house, you can be sure it is causing you one or more types of damage listed below.
Bending Your Driveshaft
Your driveshaft is what propels your car. When you go over a curb entering your driveway, you can bend a piece of equipment that is vital to the proper function of your car.
The first consequence is that your car won’t power up properly. Your car will also begin to shake on obtaining certain speeds.
Damaging Your Transmission
Your transmission is responsible for how you shift gears. Scraping a curb on a regular basis can crack your transmission case. You can leak transmission fluid and also disconnect the cables leading from the case.
As any good mechanic will tell you, transmission repairs aren’t cheap. Additionally, as these insurance experts in Calgary noted, depending on how the damage was caused, your insurance may or may not cover it. Be sure to understand the policies when buying car insurance.
Misalignment Of Tires
When hitting a curb causes tire misalignment, you begin to experience difficulty steering the vehicle in any direction. Your vehicle may experience some shuddering as well.
Because one set of your wheels may be carrying more weight than the others, it causes your tires to wear faster than usual. You may also see your gas bill go up because your wheels aren’t working the way they should and are forcing your engine to work harder to compensate.
Items like your oil pan and gas tank are exposed on the underside of your car. Scraping a curb could tear holes in them.
In addition to being a fire hazard, persistent oil leaks can cause your engine to seize up. That’s a pretty pricey repair, if not requiring the purchase of a new car.
Gas leaks are dangerous because they are fire hazards as well. The second is to protect your car from the damage described above to give it a long life.
What Can You Do?
If you have to pass over a curb regularly, you should invest in a curb ramp. Additionally, concrete is an expensive driveway option, but it can be the safest for your car and is durable over the long term.
Understanding that your driveway can cause your car damage is the first step. Taking steps to protect your car to give it longevity is the second.