A customer had their 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 towed to J&T Automotive after hitting a Houston pothole which ended up destroying the driver side strut assembly. The customer felt as if the entire wheel was going to fly off after driving into the Houston pothole.

Once the vehicle arrived the Mercedes technician at J&T quickly diagnosed the entire strut assembly, strut mount, and strut mount bearing needed to be replaced. The Mercedes would also need [sws_picture_frame41 src=”http://www.jntautomotive.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/mercedes-strut-repair.jpg” title=”Houston Pothole” alt=”Houston Pothole” align=”sws_frame_right” lightbox=”” album=”album” video=””] [/sws_picture_frame41] to be aligned after the strut work was complete.

The rear-wheel drive 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 3.5L 6cyl engine pushes 302hp and utilizes an independent MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs, twin-tube dampers, and stabilizer bar. The steering is a hydraulic-assist, speed-proportional, rack-and-pinion chassis which allow the driver to play with the throttle in order to correct the line and control under-steer. J&T Automotive was able to bring back this control to the driver once the strut assembly, which was damaged by the Houston pothole, was replaced.

The independent front suspension, utilized by the Mercedes-Benz SLK350, is a setup which allows the front wheels to move independently. Created by Earle S. MacPherson while at General Motors in 1947, the MacPherson strut is the most popular front suspension system, particularly for European vehicles. A MacPherson strut is a combination of a coil spring and a shock absorber into one component, which delivers a lighter, more compact suspension system.  Unless of course the vehicle hits an infamous Houston pothole.

Struts can be utilized for either the front or rear axle, and in some vehicles both axles. The strut runs straight through a coil spring and sits in a channel referred to as a tower, the top of which can[sws_picture_frame35 src=”http://www.jntautomotive.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/independent-macpherson-strut-repair-houston.jpg” title=”” alt=”” align=”sws_frame_right” lightbox=”” album=”album” video=””] [/sws_picture_frame35] be seen beneath the hood by the rear of the engine compartment. This design, called a “coil-over”, creates an efficient space, as is it eliminates the space-depriving upper control arm utilized in previous suspension designs. Reducing the number of parts count lowers the un-sprung weight, resulting in a smoother ride experience. The damage to the strut from hitting the Houston pothole is why the driver felt as if the tire were about to fall off the vehicle when it was rolling.

The fortunate part of this story is that no one was hurt and all of the repairs were completed in a day. J&T Automotive has enough experience servicing Mercedes vehicles that we are able to get most jobs done the same day, as long as parts are available. Our extensive relationship with Mercedes parts distributors allows us better access to the Houston supply than other independent repair shops.

If you know of any Houston potholes you can report them to the Texas Department of Transportation either online, or via telephone.

Call to Report a Pothole in Texas: (800) 452-9292
Link to report a pothole in Texas: http://www.txdot.gov/contact-us/form.html?form=Report_a_Pothole