Signs a pothole may have damaged your car

Cars and potholes

Potholes can feel like the bane of a driver’s life at times. Hitting one can damage your tyres, wheels, steering, suspension and bodywork – and the damage isn't always immediately obvious. Here are some of the signs to look out for.

How do potholes happen?

Potholes are caused by water in the soil under the road, which can cause the road surface to move over time, especially in winter when the water freezes and thaws a lot. Cars driving over the road exacerbate the weakness, and the road deforms and cracks and eventually develops a hole.

The cost of potholes

In April, the Independent reported that drivers in the UK were spending £4 billion a year collectively on repairs caused by cars hitting potholes, with the average annual bill coming to £230. As many as 56 per cent of drivers said their cars had been damaged by potholes, and motorists encountered on average seven potholes per journey, according to roadside assistance provider Green Flag.

Has my car been damaged by a pothole?

If you’ve hit a pothole, it’s not always easy to tell if your car has been damaged. Here are some of the signs that something might need repairing:

Suspension: If you don’t feel like you can control the car properly, for example it’s unsteady when you turn or is bouncing a lot, or you notice unusual vibrations and sounds, the steering or suspension may have been damaged. One issue that can occur is misalignment, where the suspension gets knocked, leaving the wheels sitting at the wrong angle. Other signs include the car pulling to one side, or unevenly worn tyres.

Tyres: A puncture or a bulge is an obvious sign; low tyre pressure can also indicate damage. A bulge needs to be fixed straight away, as if left untreated it can cause the tyre to deflate suddenly, in turn resulting in a loss of control.

A pothole can also cause the tread to come away from the body of the tyre, which again needs to be repaired as soon as possible. Low-profile tyres – thinner tyres, usually fitted to sportier cars - are particularly prone to pothole damage, as they have less ability to absorb impacts than standard tyres. Making sure your tyres are always correctly inflated reduces the risk of damage.

Wheels: Potholes can bend, chip or crack your wheels. Thin cracks might be difficult to see – you might need to give your wheels a clean to spot them. Again, these issues need to be repaired or the tyre might become damaged and burst.

If you do hit one of those pesky potholes, just bring your car down to Maidstoneand Harlow car dealers, Carwise Group. Our in-house technicians carry out car repairs on a wide variety of makes and models, and can have your vehicle back on the road in no time.

When you buy from us, you know you’re choosing a reputable used car dealer, where all the cars are thoroughly checked before they go on sale. We also offer some of the best car finance deals around. To find out more, give us a call today.