Thread: Pothole damage
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      01-14-2013, 06:37 AM   #1
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Drives: E93 M3
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: London

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2011 M3  [0.00]
Pothole damage

Quite a few questions and points rolled into one here so please bare with me.

Short Story:

I am worried that I may have damage to my wheels (225M's). I hit a pothole at round 40mph a few days ago. Both right hand side wheels went over it and the Flat Tyre Monitor came on a few seconds after. Ironically I was on the way to the garage to check my tyres anyway. I pumped the tyres up and they seem fine now. I reset the FTM also. Now the car is pulling to the left and at higher speeds I can feel a slight vibration on the right hand side of the car. I can feel a vibration in the steering wheel too.

Is there any easy way to diagnose this without too much cost? Is there an easy way to check for cracks in the alloys without taking the wheels off? I am pretty certain there is a problem but I don't know what it is. If it turns out to be serious I would hope to get the council to pay for it as they are extremely negligent in my area with regard to fixing potholes. I highly suspect that pothole damage also failed my 1-Series an MOT in the past so they have already got away with it once.

It may just be the tracking that is out however, and if the Flat Tyre Monitor hadn't come on I would probably just think that. But knowing how many horror stories there are with 225M's has got me thinking it may be more serious.

Could hitting a pothole cause the FTM to come on? Could this have been a coincidence and actually caused by not resetting the FTM after pumping on 4/1/13? I had driven around 10 miles without resetting it.

Could hitting a pothole crack the alloys?

As the car is pulling to the left does this imply that it has to be a front tyre issue?

Anyway the long story with more details:
Here is a series of events that leads me to think that it was this pot hole that caused the problem.

19/12/12 - Picked up car from dealer. Tyre pressures unknown. Apparently from what I have read since dealers are rubbish when it comes to checking this. Tracking had been done by dealer.

4/1/13 - Checked tyres at Sainsburys at around 17:30, temperature was around 8-9C. Tyres should be front 2.5 bar, rear 2.7 bar. Fronts were 2.3, left rear 2.3, right rear 2.1! Pumped all up to recommended ratings. After doing this I did not reset the Flat Tyre Monitor. Car felt much nicer to drive now, like riding a bike after you have pumped the tyres up.

8/1/13 - Went to Sainsburys at 9pm to re-check tyres to see if there was any problem with the right rear as it read very low previously. Temperature was much colder, probably around 1C (7-8C colder). On the way I went over something quite large on the A41 towards Watford, the right side of the car had a large impact. I can only assume it was a pothole. A few moments later the Flat Tyre Monitor came on saying that I may have a flat.

I crawled to the garage and checked the tyres. All of the tyres were down on Fridays measurements by 0.1 - 0.2 bar but I think that is within expectation anyway and also the colder conditions may have contributed to that. I topped them up and reset the FTM. I drove a few miles to the next garage and re-checked the tyres. They were all down by 0.1, margin of error maybe. Also even after immediately pumping the tyre, the gauge would say that it had lost 0.1 if applied the nozzle again.

Fairly confident that there wasn't a puncture I drove back down the A41. I noticed that the steering was pulling slightly to the left at this point. Didn't go too fast as I was still cautious that there may be a tyre issue.

12/1/13 - Went out for the day. Drove up the M1 then some A roads back to Watford area on the way back. Steering was still pulling left on the M1 which I would consider very flat in plenty of places. Also at higher speeds could feel vibrations in the right of the car and the wheel.

13/1/13 - My pressure gauge arrived over the weekend. Checked all the tyres on Sunday afternoon, no driving at all that day either. Colder once again, snowed that night. Fronts were 2.35, Rears 2.55 so nothing out of the ordinary.

Any help appreciated.