With many of us returning to the roads in earnest for the first time in months, it’s only natural that we’re going to be looking out a little more fervently for the welfare of our cars. Potholes are everywhere in the UK and sometimes they are unavoidable.
Government investment is seemingly endless in this constant crisis, but still, the roads don’t seem to ever get better. It’s a never-ending struggle and no matter how many strongly worded letters and emails are written to local councils, it can seem like a bit of a lost cause.
But what specific damage can potholes do to your car and how can you best protect your vehicle from them?
Tyres – Tyres are the first point of contact with potholes, so they are naturally going to be the most immediately susceptible to damage. Punctures, cracks and deformation are all possibilities to consider with pothole impacts and if you manage to hit it with enough force it can damage not only the tyre, but the entire wheel. For the best impact absorption, quality brands like Michelin tyres will provide superior protection, but potholes can still cause significant damage regardless of what tyres you’re driving on.
Suspension – Heavy and sudden impact from potholes can easily overload the shock absorption of your suspension, leading to broken struts, ball joints and misalignment. An impact would have to be very hard to do this much damage, but it can certainly happen. There is little you can do to adequately prepare for this, apart from avoiding potholes all together.
Bodywork – Extremely deep potholes can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to vulnerable bodywork and exterior damage, especially if your vehicle is modified or lowered. Scrapes, bumps and impacts can take the paint off or even disfigure bodywork. With a deep enough impact, a pothole can even damage the exhaust.
Passengers – You must also remember that a car has a driver and passengers. While the car can be worse off in a pothole impact, those in the car are also vulnerable to heavy impacts and shocks too. It’s unlikely but it’s not impossible, and the last thing you want to do is give your passengers whiplash.
How you can protect your car
Obviously, avoiding potholes wherever possible is always going to be the priority. But you can’t remain vigilant 100% of the time, particularly when the pothole crisis is only predicted to get worse. So, it’s important to understand how to act in the event of a pothole impact. First, check your passengers are safe and unharmed. Then check the status of your car, including your tyres, wheels and bodywork.