Chevrolet is taking strides to help overcome the blues of potholes in the aftermath of winter by testing its latest vehicles on engineered test-roads scattered with manufacturers potholes, with pothole sizes ranging from a pin-prick to proverbial craters.
It seems like every winter the roads become worse for wear, and pothole development is inevitable, due to the water filling cracks in the roads and the consequent freezing weather which follows. Thus, General Motors has spent many a day pothole-testing vehicles such as the Chevrolet Malibu and Silverado at its secretive Milford Proving Ground.
As anyone who has driven post-winter roads will know, potholes can be more than a mere nuisance. Not only are the shudders uncomfortable and cause for thousands of coffee-stained car seats every year, but they are potentially damaging to your cars suspension, bodywork, wheels and tires. This writer, for one, is glad to see Chevrolet caring about his coffee, believing it doesn’t belong on the floor.
General Motors aren’t newbies when it comes to damaging pothole limitations either, with over 40 years of data used to manufacture cars with better absorption. By understanding the uneven weight transferal which occurs during pothole collisions, GM can take steps to better prepare its cars for the unpredictable road conditions.
Although pothole detection-and-avoidance technology is currently unavailable on cars (just give it time), Chevrolet are finding other means of limiting the damage incurred from a run-in with potholes. For example, stiffer, stronger bodies allow for dampened vibrations and lower shudders throughout the vehicle, whilst improved suspension and a recalibration of the dampeners gives the new Chevrolet’s a better weight transferal for sudden deferrals in road quality.
Although GM’s doing what it can to test for and improve its cars abilities to ride potholes, it encourages its drivers to maintain a level of awareness, by applying simple checks to their cars. For example, making sure the tires are inflated to optimum pressure levels, remembering weather conditions effect tire pressure and to adjust accordingly, and to always maintain road awareness, avoiding potholes when possible.
While no road vehicle is immune to the effects of potholes, it’s assuring to see Chevrolet completing heavy testing (13 million test miles on the Chevrolet full-sized trucks, for example) to help protect against the elements.