Potholes the hidden menace

Potholes are a common menace in the UK, especially during the winter months and early spring. In the last three months of 2022, a huge 23% rise in pothole-related breakdowns has been reported across the UK. In case you encounter a pothole or have done in the past and suspect damage to your vehicle, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

How to know if you have pothole damage: Some of the most frequent damage caused by potholes include broken suspension springs and damaged wheels and tyres. In addition to this, if you notice any of the following symptoms, then your car may have suffered damage due to a pothole:

Exhaust system: Exhausts run along the length of the vehicle. A deep pothole can potentially cause the exhaust system to scrape along the ground. The tarmac can cause scratches, dents, or even rip holes into the exhaust pipes, muffler, or catalytic converter. So, it’s best to check for damage here if you hit a pothole.

Suspension system: A sudden ‘drop’ into a pothole can cause suspension problems such as damaged shock absorbers and broken ball joints. A damaged shock absorber or broken ball joints will cause vibrations, noise, and unstable steering.

Alignment issues: Hitting a pothole can lead to alignment issues that are particularly noticeable when turning. Often your steering wheel will be off-centre, and the car may pull in one direction or the handling feels loose. Misalignment can also cause tyres to wear down faster.

What to do about pothole damage: If you go over a pothole and experience a change in driving, we recommend checking for any visual damage in the first instance or getting it inspected by a professional mechanic to be sure there are no serious issues. In terms of making a claim, the council will be liable for pothole damage claims. However, if the pothole is outside of the council’s jurisdiction on motorways, for example, it could be either Highways England, Transport Scotland, Department of Infrastructure(NI), or Transport Wales. Click on this article for more info on how to make a pothole damage claim.

How to avoid car damage: This may sound silly, but [1] Drive slowly and carefully, especially during the night and at dusk when potholes are invisible to the naked eye. [2] If you swerve to avoid a pothole, make sure you do not stray into the path of an oncoming car or one that is overtaking. 

How to claim for pothole damage. Visit https://www.gov.uk/claim-for-damage-to-your-vehicle

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