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Potholes - How To Minimise Damage To Your Car

Potholes - How To Minimise Damage To Your Car

By Swansway Motor Group 26-08-2018


They are car killers – potholes sprout in some of the worst places on our roads. But what is the best way to deal with the damage they leave behind? We take a look

Winter is the season of snow, woolly clothes and — at least on poorly-kept UK roads — potholes.

All motorists will know the struggles of trying to avoid potholes, but sometimes they’re either impossible to get around or go unnoticed.

This can result in a bit of discomfort at best, and plenty of damage to your car at the worst.

We take a look at how you can report a pothole, and should you pick up damage, how you can claim money to cover the repair costs.

Why do potholes form?

Potholes are most commonly created when water creeps into the cracks in the roads and freezes. The expansion and contraction of water moves the asphalt around, resulting in the asphalt weakening.

Why do potholes form on our roads

The stress of vehicles moving over the road eventually causes the asphalt to give way, thus forming a hole.

Although potholes can form at any time, colder temperatures make them much more likely during the winter.

What damage can a pothole do to my car?

The uneven, sudden drop of a pothole puts a lot of stress on a vehicle’s tyres and suspension.

What damage can a pothole do to my car

As tough as modern cars are, there’s a chance a pothole could damage a tyre to the point of puncture, add excess wear to suspension components or break them entirely.

Extreme holes could even damage alloy wheels and components underneath a vehicle.

How can I report a pothole?

If you’re looking to report a pothole on a local road, you should contact the relevant council and inform them of the location of the hole.

As for A-roads and motorways, the Highways Agency must be notified by calling 0300 123 5000.

How can I report a pothole_

How can I claim for damage costs?

At the risk of sounding like an insurance advert — should your car be damaged due to going over a pothole, you could be entitled to compensation.

If the pothole has been previously reported, you’re more likely to receive some compensation that if it has not. Councils have a statutory defence that they cannot be held liable for defects they’re unaware of.

To increase your chances of a payout from pothole damage, there’s a number of steps you can take before making a claim:

  1. Make notes — write down key details, such as location, time of the incident, and the size and depth of the pothole if possible. You should also take a photograph as evidence.
  2. Witnesses — if anyone else has seen the incident, get details from them. It could help your claim.
  3. Get repair quotes — having accurate quotes for repair bills could help to ensure you get as much of the damage repairs covered as possible in a claim.
  4. Research — before making a claim, you should check to see what your council is and isn’t liable for.

How can I claim for pothole damage costs for my car

To make a claim for pothole damage, contact the local council for local roads and the Highways Agency for A-roads and motorways.

Providing quotes for repairs and a valid MOT certificate for your vehicle when contacting, as well as images, can help your claim.

Can I claim pothole damage on my insurance?

Your insurer may provide cover for pothole damage, especially more likely if you have a comprehensive policy.

It’s worth checking your policy documents and contacting your insurer before making a claim.

This year, there seems to be potholes at every turn, leading to the feeling that it’s a problem on the increase.

And it’s not your imagination, two surveys* earlier this year confirmed that our roads are in a worsening condition and that the cost of pothole related damage has rocketed to £915 million!

Potholes by the kerb

25% of drivers reported hitting a pothole every day they were on the road and for drivers in the North West it was even worse, with over a third, 36%, encountering pothole impact daily.

That’s a lot of drivers, a lot of cars, a lot of potholes and an awful lot of potential damage.

We can’t go out and fill in all the potholes, but we can you give you some ‘do and don’t’ tips on what to do when confronted with a pothole:

  • Do keep you tyres at the right pressure; over or under inflated tyres will make pothole damage more likely
  • Don’t assume a puddle in the road is just a puddle, it could conceal a pothole and that pothole could be deep.
  • Do keep scanning the road ahead; try and spot potholes early so you can take action to avoid them altogether.
  • Don’t suddenly swerve to avoid a pothole, it could put both you and any on-coming cars in danger.
  • When you see a pothole, do reduce your speed, the quicker you hit a pothole, the more likely your vehicle is to sustain damage.
  • Once you’re going over the pothole don’t brake, that can cause more damage as when you brake it places more stress on the front suspension.
  • Do avoid the possibility of the steering wheel being knocked out of your hands by ensuring you hold it firmly and preferably in the 10 to 2 position.

If you feel you may have damaged your car, make sure you wait for a safe place to stop before getting out and inspecting your vehicle.

Large pothole on a UK road

*Surveys by the Asphalt Industry Alliance and KwikFit.

If you think you've damaged your wheels or tyres, get them checked at your local car dealership.


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