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Can I turn my tires as I back down the driveway over a slanted curb?

The curbs in my new neighborhood are slanted, about 4-6 inches tall. There are no driveway skirts. Is it bad to back over the curb with the steering wheel turned so the tires are at an angle or should I back out as straight as possible? I’m concerned the frequent downward movement with the tires turned will damage something. This is all at slow speeds. Should I be concerned?

Well, if straight is an options, then it is better. Also as slow as possible. Moving is always an option too :slight_smile:

You mean there are no curb cuts? That’s hard to imagine…the guys who did the driveways must not have had the phone number of the guys who did the sidewalks!

If that is indeed the case…I’d stay off of the steering as I cleared the curb. Stay off the brakes, too.

That’s the way it was in our old neighborhood. Made pouring the concrete a lot simpler and also didn’t have to worry where a house was going and dig the curb up again. I never did like them but I don’t think its a problem either way. You’re going slow enough. What most people did though was put down asphalt to smooth the ride.

Don’t worry about it at all.

You wouldn’t even consider asking this question if you saw what the car manufacturer does to your car to test it. Hint: they hit the same type curb square-on and at an angle at 25 - 45 mph.

Your car’s suspension and steering components endure many, many, many times the abuse just hitting a modest pothole than you could subject them to backing over your curb even if you tried.

The only caveat I’ll add is that if the burbs are granite, coming over them at an angle could tear a sidewall. I’ve torn a few sidewalls on granite curbs. NH being the “granite state”, it’s a material indigenous to us and it’s used for curbs everywhere. And it’ll easily tear through sidewalls.

Gee, I think slamming into a curb head on would be a lot worse than most potholes, unless said pothole was close to a foot deep (which, admittedly, some are).

And I still don’t get how they don’t have curb cuts! I thought the Americans With Disabilities Act mandated curb cuts at intersections, at the very least…seem to recall work crews going around and retroactively adding them shortly after it became law…

GM used what they call “max pothole” which is a 4 inch deep pothole with a long easy ramp down. When the tire hits the edge of the pothole (a 45 degree edge) that corner of the car is basically level so its like hitting a 4 inch soft curb at speed. Then they take it on a rough cobblestone track and drive it for thousands of miles at varying speeds. The test drivers don’t like that schedule much. They also do full-on 4-5 inch curb hits just to see what happens (breaks) square on and at varying angles. Test drivers don’t like that either! At least its one hit at a time.

In the lab, they push the wheel center with hydraulic cylinders, with the car clamped down, at 2x the corner weight (2G’s) in all 3 directions for 10’s of thousands of cycles. Most all manufacturers do similar tests.

Meanjoe, you only need curb cuts if there are sidewalks. No sidewalks, no curb cuts. People walk in the street. Think of a flattened curb maybe 4-6" high and a foot wide. Just to direct water, define the road, and prevent erosion.

If you drive over the curb slowly and gently, you can drive over it at any angle without doing harm. Your accord has pretty good independent suspension. If you’re driving over the curb moving fast, you’re doing damage regardless of the angle, but you’ll damage both sides slightly less if you hit the curb head on.

If your driveway is steep, hitting it at an angle is actually good, because it makes it less likely any part of the car will scrape on the ground.

This reminds me of the question of, when you approach a pair of speed bumps that are side-by-side, are you better off putting one side of your car (and two wheels) down the middle between them, or hitting them square with both sides? Since I almost never have a passenger in my car, and my big, um, frame is always on the same side of the car, I tend to put my driver’s side wheels down the middle, with the passenger side going over one of the speed bumps. My brother-in-law thinks you’re better off hitting the speed bumps squarely with both front wheels and both rear wheels. However, we both tend to need an alignment whenever we buy tires, so it might not matter at all.

Gee, Joe, I don’t think you read the OP’s post.
That is not at all what he described. Not even close.

That’s true, but totally irrelevant to the OP’s problem.

Bing, Thanks for the insight. I didn’t think about not having to worry about the placement of the houses and digging up the curb again. I thought it had something to do with a cold weather area. Within the neighborhood, I’ve seen some ingenious solutions. None hold up over the long haul other than cutting the concrete and creating a skirt. Putting down asphalt just creates ice dams in the gutter. I’ll keep my eye out for a good solution. In the mean time I’ll just go slow.

Whitey, Thank you, this makes sense. Basically, if I do it slowly and straight I’ll do slightly less damage. Your are reading my mind. I didn’t want to make my question even more complicated by indicating my steep driveway. I’ve been experimenting with a route so as not to scrape the ground. (my civic will scrape) My concerns might not matter in the grand scheme of things.

Thank you everyone. I will try to keep the tires straight more often then not.

If you can cross that type of curb at an angle, that is the recommended way to do it. Crossing at an angle decreases chances of hitting the ground with the underside of your car and it does not affect anything on the suspension. This is the method taught in the Range Rover drivers school for crossing culverts.


But . . you CAN make that maneuver . . just slowly.
any time you want to make what seems like an extreme maneuver . .do it slowly .
As an example
check out any video of off-road ‘‘rock crawling’’ ( our local club is with lots of you tube video available )
the key is . slow and easy.
you don’t slam down from any sufficient height and you don’t go slamming into anything you wish to climb over.
you simply control you advance to the next level.

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A local video store did not round parking islands, hope the engineer was canned!

I don’t have a problem with that design. It encourages people to pay attention to their vehicles and the environment as they drive. Rounding the corners only helps sloppy drivers, and I’m sure we don’t have any of those here. :slight_smile:

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Might wear out your struts a little sooner going straight over the curb vs at an angle, but as long as you are going slow, and nothing is bottoming out, this is not something to worry much about. Use whichever method is most convenient.

GeorgeSanJose, that is my concern; wearing out some parts sooner than
necessary. Definitely more convenient to back out at an angle. Many times
the neighbor’s car is parked on the street behind me. And at an angle I do
not scrape the ground. Thanks