27th March, 2019

Shouldering The Cost Of Pothole Damage

The news that motorists are shouldering a rise in the cost of damage caused by potholes may not come as a surprise and, with a growing number of older cars on the road, car classic car owners are feeling more than their fair share of the pain.

Research published by the nationwide servicing and repair chain Kwik Fit has found that 11 million drivers damaged their vehicle because of poor roads over the last year, and had to pay a staggering £1.21billion in repair fees - an increase of £296million, or 32%, compared to the year before. It is an upward trend the shows no sign of abating: the cost of damage reported by motorists has risen by 77% in just three years.

Obviously, damage from poor quality roads affects more than one component on a car, and not too surprisingly, tyres take the biggest hit from potholes, accounting for £5.9 million in repairs. Suspension faults finish second at £3.8 million while wheels come a close third at £3.7 million.

The average cost to the individual motorist of repairing damage to components such as tyres, suspension and wheels has reduced slightly from £111 to £108.86, however, the number of motorists being affected has increased by 2.9 million since last year. The total cost is likely to rise even further as 1.4 million drivers say they have yet to have their vehicle repaired.

For classic car drivers the problem is even more acute. Firstly, depending on the age and condition of the car, a classic might not survive an encounter with a pothole. Changes in design and construction means that more modern motors may be able to shrug off issues.

Cars running on classic, steel wheels (rather than modern alloys) with tyres of an older design might prove resilient to potholes, but worn or already compromised suspension and steering components are far more likely to fail, stranding owners and ruining that Sunday morning drive. Also, the struggle and expense of finding elusive parts may mean that your pride and joy will remain laid up until the right components are found and fitted.

There are a number of measures that classic car drivers can take to try to reduce the effect of pothole-related damage to their much-loved vehicles:

  • Read the road ahead and leave plenty of space to the car in front
  • Keep tyres to the correct pressure
  • Limit winter mileage
  • Report potholes in your neighbourhood
  • Check for any signs of damage if you have hit a pothole
  • Mentally record the pothole ‘landscape’ on local roads
  • Don’t ignore any creaks or groans from running gear after a pothole incident

Have poor quality roads and potholes left a mark on your classic car experience? Let us know your stories in the comments section below.