potholesAhhhh don’t you just love winter weather!  One minute it is snowing, the next minute it is raining.  What is more depressing on a February morning is spotting the potholes that appear overnight.

How potholes are formed

Potholes are likely to appear in winter and spring when ice and running water disrupt the soil layer beneath the road surface.  Cars driving over these weak spots in the road cause the top layer to deform, crack and chip away. The holes in the road surface start off small but can potentially grow deep or large enough to cause damage to cars.

Pothole damage to cars

If you are unlucky enough to hit a pothole then you will need to check over your car for the following areas of damage:

  • Tyres – sidewall bulges, tread separation or flat tyres
  • Wheels – chips, cracks or bends caused by the hard angles of the hole
  • Suspension – misalignment (your steering wheel may be off centre), broken ball joints, damage to shots or struts
  • Exhaust – dents or holes in your exhaust pipe, muffler or catalytic converter

How to report them

If you do hit a pothole then do make sure you report it.  If it is around a town then you can find the contact details on the GOV.UK website. However if it is on a main UK road or motorway then you will need to phone 0300 123 5000 or email info@highwaysengland.co.uk.

How to claim for pothole damage

If your car does suffer damage from a pothole then you should be able to claim for compensation although this does depend on the following factors:

  • If the council are aware of the pothole in question – this is why it is important to report them (as they are under no obligation to award compensation for ones that aren’t reported)
  • If you have fully comprehensive insurance

Follow these steps to make your claim:

  • Take comprehensive notes about the size, location and depth of the pothole. Do a sketch or take a photograph
  • Get details of any witnesses
  • Get quotes for repairs and keep these along with garage receipts and repair bills
  • Make your claim
  • If your claim is rejected then do take a look at the comprehensive advice on Money Saving Expert website

Tips to avoid potholes or drive safely over them

The best way to avoid pothole damage to your car is to avoid driving over them.  However this is not always possible so here are some tips to make your drive as smooth as possible:

  • Keep your tyres inflated properly as they hold up much better than ones which are under or over inflated
  • Slow down if you see a pothole but don’t break directly over it as this is likely to cause your car damage
  • Drive straight with a firm grip so as not to lose control
  • When driving over water, use caution as it might be hiding a pothole (remember Dr Foster when he went to Gloucester!)


MEB the Motor Centre have been repairing and servicing all makes of cars for over 40 years and are now located in Edmonton. Contact us on 020 8807 0668 to talk about how potholes may have damaged your car.

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