How road potholes affect your car

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Purple Pothole

Potholes in the road can do a significant amount of damage to your vehicle. These are one of those things we can’t help but want to reduce the risk of damage as much as possible. Here we talk about how road potholes affect your car.

How are road potholes formed?

Potholes can vary in size and shape; they are mainly caused by the expansion and contraction of water in the ground. When there has been a significant amount of rain on the road, and it freezes overnight it expands. When the water expands, it can change roads and pavements drastically and over time can have a huge effect on the size and shape of the pothole if not filled in.

If there is a vast amount of traffic travelling over that particular part in the road or its so-called weak spot, the road material can weaken. This then causes pieces of the road to be displaced or even break down under the weight of traffic causing potholes.

Wet Pothole

How can I prevent damage to my car?

Tyres are the one part of the vehicle that comes between the main body and the road. Therefore it is extremely important for your tyres to have enough air pressure in them and to also have sufficient tread. The minimum tread your tyres can have 1.6mm tread however in the winter they should be around 3mm. This allows you to have enough grip on the road as well as keeping you safe from sliding on potential frozen potholes.

Slow your vehicle if you can see a pothole in the distance if you believe it is unavoidable. If you hot a pothole at high speeds, you run the risk of damaging multiple parts of your vehicle including suspension, tyres and other internal components. Potholes can also damage the rims and wheel alignment of your vehicle. If your car does go over a pothole at high speed, it can take a huge amount of impact on the rims causing bending and potential cracks.

The body can take a fair bit of impact when it comes to driving over cracks and holes in the road. The underneath and bumpers if vehicles can scrape and bash against the road as you travel which can cause paintwork to come off. This is why you may want to think about having bumper scuff repairs in Milton Keynes. This type of damage is normally cosmetic rather than actually being damage to the drive of the vehicle.

Exhaust pipes can take a harsh hit as they run underneath the underside of the vehicles. When the car goes over the pothole, the underneath of the carriage can hit the road causing damage to not only the exhaust but also the muffler and catalytic converter. The result of these parts of your vehicle being damaged means loud noises from the vehicle.

Suspension is one of the main damages to your vehicle that you can experience from driving over potholes. Sudden jarring from potholes can cause the suspension to misalign as well as damage shock and struts. If this does happen, you can experience your steering wheel to be misaligned meaning it will not be centred, which is both dangerous and hard to manage. There are also damages as a result of misalignment of the steering wheel; you can see a significant amount of wear and tear on your tyres which wouldn’t necessarily happen if your steering wheel was straight. To an untrained eye, it can be difficult to see whether you have suspension damage which is why we recommend you take your car for an annual service at Ben and Lenny’s.

Driving over pothole

How do I report potholes?

Thousands of people drive over potholes daily and never report them to anyone so no wonder why they never get fixed. We are continuously moaning about the damages that can cause to our cars!

FixMyStreet work towards helping you report a problem and it doesn’t just have to be potholes, you can report a number of problems including street lighting and broken pavement slabs. In some cases where the road is not used often potholes won’t always be picked up or reported by someone, so if you do go over one, there is no harm in reporting it. The Council do have a duty of car to carry out maintenance and inspections of local roads so more often than not they pick up potholes. However, some can form and become dangerous quickly so you should always report them.


Potholes are an absolute nightmare in the UK and cause a significant amount of damage to vehicles. In 2016 1,031,787 potholes had been reported, so you can only imagine how many there are now. Unfortunately here in the UK we experience adverse weather conditions daily and can witness freezing and sunshine all in one day. Our weather has a significant effect on the increase of potholes and how fast they can form. The constant freezing and melting of water on roads have a dramatic effect on the potholes.

If you think your car is being damaged by potholes, do not leave it. You never know if there are underlying issues with car parts or even car body. Over the years we have noticed an increase in the number of young drivers that put their lives at risk on the roads because they have a fault with their vehicle that hasn’t been looked at or fixed. If you hear rattling, vibrations or screeching take it to your local garage, you would rather be safe than sorry. As the suspension is one of the main parts of the car to receive the most damage from potholes you should have your car serviced regularly. Not only is a damaged suspension dangerous but it can also ruin the drive of your vehicle. Making bumps in the road more noticeable, you will also see your car is no longer fuel efficient.

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