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Pothole damage: how to avoid it

17th January 2022

Potholes are often the bane of many people’s motoring lives. Whether you are a constant victim of pothole destruction, or maybe you are lucky enough never to encounter potholes in your life, either way, our helpful blog will have you clued up. Learn more about those pesky potholes and how to avoid the damage they cause.

What is a pothole?

Potholes are holes in the road which can differ in size and shape. They are usually caused by weak spots in the road that have given in to the weight of cars. This is also traditionally worsened by the elements. The combination of weight and bad weather, particularly snow or ice, causes the road to break down and crack.

What do potholes do to your car?

Some serious damage can be done to your car when driving over a pothole - here are a few ways potholes can harm your car:

  • Wheel damage: when your wheels take a hit - the rims may become more prone to scrapes and could even become distorted. Potholes may also have a subsequent impact on your wheel alignment, which will cause you more problems in the long run.
  • Tyre damage: most commonly, potholes cause damage to tyres. Driving over one could result in tyre tread separation, sidewall bulging and/or punctures. In more extreme cases, you may find that your tyre has burst due to a pothole.
  • Misaligned suspension: potholes can also potentially affect the alignment of your suspension; this can cause many other issues. Including damage to the braking efficiency and even shortens your tyres life.
  • Damage to the undercarriage and exhaust: if you own a sports car, a pothole may even harm the body of your car. A deep pothole could scratch the exhaust or even create a hole in the pipe.

How to avoid pothole damage

Sometimes, we have no other choice but to drive over a pothole. However, there are some small things you can do to avoid the damage:

  • Tyre pressure: if your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, you have a much better chance of rolling over a pothole with minimal damage. Learn how to check your tyre pressure from our detailed guide.
  • Driving habits: speeding can worsen the effects of driving over a pothole; by driving slower and smoother, you save yourself the extra costs.

What to do if you hit a pothole

  • Pull over as soon as it is safe to.
  • Inspect your vehicle for any visible damage and take a note of where the pothole is.
  • Once the inspection is finished, and you start driving again. Be mindful to notice any vibrations that occur whilst you are driving.
  • Also, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side, which  indicates issues with your wheel alignment.

Can you claim for tyre damage from potholes?

You may not be able to claim pothole damage from your insurance - however, if you report the pothole damage to your local council, you may be entitled to compensation.

  • Step 1: in your report, you should detail the pothole damage, the exact location of the pothole and the size and position. If you can, it’s advised to take photos for reference.
  • Step 2: you can then report your pothole to GOV.UK. This will not only benefit you, but it will also help other road users avoid potholes when they’re driving, too.

If your car has suffered any pothole damage, book your repairs at one of our Merityre garages. For more information, contact our helpful team or visit one of our locations near you.