Short of those living in the Serengeti, most of us have encountered those ridges in the road to slow down our speed to keep pedestrians safe. While sometimes frustrating, those speed bumps do their job and don't damage your car when you cross them at the correct speed.
The recommended speed going over those bumps is 5 mph. Yes, a mere crawl. The rule of thumb is that the higher the speed bump, you drop your speed to between 2 and 4 mph. Speed bumps can vary in height from three to six inches.
While you may be tempted to accept the jostling and go over them at higher rates of speed, each time you do you are actively doing harm to your car's suspension, steering, alignment, and tires (and sometimes your exhaust).
Your car absorbs road changes via shocks. Think of them as springy coils that normally go up and down gently. When you go over a speed bump too fast, the shocks absorb the weight of your car suddenly which can cause them to bend out of shape affecting alignment (see below) or leak the hydraulic fluid within them. Every time you subject them to sudden bumps, they break down a little more and may result in you eventually losing control of your car.
Think of the suspension in your car like the spine in your body. When you injure your back, it affects other body parts from functioning correctly. The vibrations that occur with damaged shocks affect your steering in the same way. Those vibrations can cause leaks and weaknesses in your power steering system and your steering rack (which connects with the frame of your car).
Alignment and Tires
When you get your car aligned, the technicians carefully align the angle on each of your tires to best connect with the road. When you sail over a speed bump, it knocks your tires out of alignment causing uneven wear which quickly shortens your tire's lifespan.
When you go over a speed bump too fast, you risk "bottoming out" and crushing your exhaust pipe. Worse yet, your exhaust system can push up into and damage the exhaust manifolds.
If you realize you've gone over a few too many speed bumps in your car and are concerned about any possible damage, we invite you to bring your vehicle into our auto repair shop for us to look it over. There is nothing we like more than keeping our customers safe!