We’ve all been in the situation where we end up hitting our car into the curb, even though things seem to be fine after collision, but they can inflict serious damage to your vehicle tires.
An impact like that cause damage to your tire, suspension system, alignment of wheels, control arm and steering system.
This can cause the tire to increase friction, wear down faster or even deflate and makes it harder to control or operate the car.
This not only makes it uneconomical to ride but makes it very unsafe for the driver and the passengers on board.
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How To Know if You Hit a Curb?
Hitting a curb is somewhat noticeable but there are two clear ways you’ll know you’ve hit a curb.
One is that you’ll jump up on top of the curb and the other one is that you’ll feel a slight bump.
In the first case, it’ll feel like you you’ve ran over something and in a certain scenario you might end up even staying on top of the curb for some time.
In the second case, it feels like something is pushing up against your tire. This happens when your speed isn’t fast enough to actually jump over the curb.
Sometimes it can be difficult to judge whether you’ve hit a curb or not. So, if you aren’t sure than you should inspect your car for damage, as a precaution.
How Hard of an Impact Cause Damage to the Tire?
The major determinant that results in damaging the tire or vehicle itself is not the force of impact but the angle of impact with the curb.
Moreover, size of the vehicle, height of the curb and speed of the vehicle also play a role in this.
If you hit the curb head on with the tires, during parking or any other activity, it’s not going to inflict that much damage, it’ll require a lot of force to cause serious damage.
But on the other hand, if you hit a curb during sharp curves or at a very steep angle, even a small force can cause a lot of damage.
The damage caused by the impact also depends on the type of vehicle you have, a small or short vehicles are more prone to damage than SUVs, pickup trucks or trailer trucks.
Furthermore, a curb with a greater height is likely to cause more damage to the vehicle and average height of a curb is three to five inches.
In addition to all that, a vehicle hitting the curb at higher speeds is more likely to get damage than a vehicle striking the curb at a lower speed even when it’s a small curb and a heavy-duty vehicle like a truck.
What Kind of Damage is Caused to the Tire by Hitting a Curb?
When a vehicle hits a curb, most people worry about having their tires or rims being damaged, but there are also other parts of the vehicle that are likely to get damaged from a curb impact.
The impact can further cause, wheel misalignment, damage to steering and suspension system, and damage to the control arm.
Damage to the Tire or Rim
When your vehicle hits a curb, the part that makes direct contact with the curb is tire and the rim.
When tire hits a curb, it mostly results in damage to the tire in the form of tire tear.
In such case, you’ll be able to see the tear and feel the pressure of the tire decreasing with time. Moreover, the sidewall of the tire is more prone to cracking because it is thinner than the tread.
Tire can also run out of air after a collision with a curb, this is because air leaks out of the valve body. This construction is built for inflating the tire and collision results in failure of the pump valve that causes the air to rush out.
Other part that is likely to get damaged is the rim and they are mostly made with iron, aluminum alloy or carbon fiber. It may get curved or bent from the edges but since they are made with these materials, it’s not that hard to straighten them out to repair them or they can be easily replaced.
Interesting Read: Do tires come with rims?
Misalignment of Wheel
Another common damage that collision with a curb can cause is wheel misalignment.
Due to the impact, the wheel is overwhelmed by force which makes it go out of its standard alignment and deviate from normal.
This situation becomes more dangerous when the front wheels are affected because it makes it difficult for the driver to steer the vehicle.
Moreover, this can cause the tires to experience a large friction force which makes the vehicle consume more gas and the tires will start to wear out more than usual.
It also makes it dangerous for the driver and passengers on the vehicle to travel on such a vehicle.
This situation can be from severe to moderate, if the problem is severe steering and handling might become impossible and in other situations, it might not even be detectible if the curb impact is minimal.
Side Note: Allignment issues are fixed by balancing and rotating tires.
Damage to the Steering and Suspension
Curb impact can cause damage to car tie rods which connects steering column, wheels and drive shaft.
Once these tie rods are broken, they decrease car’s control during sharp turns and corners.
In addition to this, sway bars also have the tendency to get broken in this scenario.
Sway bars, also known as anti-roll bars are the part of suspension system that prevents your vehicle from moving sideways (swaying) or rolling while taking a turn.
You can identify this from the rattling sound, decreased handling, loosened steering wheel, or complete loss of control around turns.
Other parts of suspension system that can be damaged include spindle, a steering knuckle and a wheel hub.
Damage to any of these components will make the car bounce around and it won’t provide the hydraulic resistance required to prevent the car from slamming down with a large force when moving over bumps or ditch holes.
Damage to the Control Arm
Suspension system of the car is supported by control arms, and they are likely to get damaged if a car hits a curb at a high speed.
Damaged control arms cause the parts of suspension system to move out of their usual place and they affect the driving performance significantly.
Control arms do not break easily, rather they are bent when they get indirectly hit a curb at a high speed.
One easy way to spot out a damaged control arm is that the car makes noise while going over speed bumps or taking sharp turns.
When you hit a curb, either you experience a force against the tire, or fell like you’ve ran over something if the speed is higher.
Angle of hitting a curb is a more crucial factor than speed of the impact. Size of the curb and the vehicle also play a part in determining the damage inflicted on the vehicle.
Hitting a curb not only causes damage to the tire and rim but also the wheel alignment, steering and suspension system and, control arm.