Watch out for pothole damage that could affect your vehicle's safety

As we continue our Pothole Watch campaign, readers have been in touch to share their views about craters in the roads and damage to their cars.

Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:23 am
Mark Harrow at work on a damaged car. Photo contributed.

We put some of your concerns to garage owner Mark Harrow:

What kind of damage can potholes cause and what costs can this incur?

Damage sustained from potholes is normally to the vehicles suspension and or the road wheels. The damage could be a burst shock absorber, broken suspension spring, damaged wheel and or damaged tyre. Costs could be from approximately £150 for a broken coil spring to possibly £750 for, say, a BMW alloy wheel and tyre.

Billingshurst Service Repair and MOT Centre

Can these affect safety of a driver and passenger if not dealt with?

An unrealised broken coil spring in some cases could dislodge and the jagged end rub on a tyre possibly causing a blow out. A damaged tyre in form of a bulge would be a weak point in the tyre which again could cause a blow out, both are obviously pretty dangerous to any vehicle travelling at speed.

What’s the worse damage you have seen to a car caused by a pothole?

The worst has been a broken alloy wheel on a Mercedes and the car had to be recovered to us for a repair to be carried out. It was completely undrivable and the cost was significant to repair.

Has there been an increase to what you suspect to be pothole damage happening to vehicles year after year?

During the winter when road conditions deteriorate, we get a lot more problems which appear to be in relation to damage from potholes.

In the last few years there has been a notable increase in damage to vehicles by suspected potholes.

Can you damage your vehicle and be unaware?

Yes, damage could go undetected until the vehicle is next inspected for an MOT or service. It is quite common for a vehicle to fail its MOT due to a buckled wheel or a broken coil spring, which would most likely have been caused by a pothole.

Any advice of avoiding damage to your vehicle or once you have hit a pothole?

If you are worried about your vehicle after hitting a pothole or suspect any damage to your vehicle, then you should always get it checked at your local garage. Small problems can develop into larger ones and it is not worth taking the risk when driving a vehicle on the roads. You safety and that of other road users is always paramount.

Mark Harrow is from Billingshurst Service Repair and MOT Centre in Billingshurst, West Sussex.