By Richard Robinson
- The AA attended more than 52,000 pothole-related breakdowns in April 2023, with an average of 1,735 drivers a day reporting damage to their cars.
- The first four months of 2023 also saw pothole breakdowns rise by almost a quarter (23%) compared to last year.
Potholes across the UK are like the weather: we all like to talk about them and moan about the state of all too many of the country’s roads. These dialogues reveal how many of us have been affected by them.
After that emotive ‘ouch’ of grimace as we hit a pothole, the hope is that we haven’t caused our car any damage. A puncture is the most obvious sign of damage, but all too often, it is that repeated pothole experience that combines to create hidden damage. The four primary areas of damage are:
- Suspension – broken coil springs are a common outcome, but strut and shock absorber damage should not be overlooked.
- Steering – track rod ends can be bent and ball joints damaged.
- Wheels – alloys, in particular, can be cracked or bent, and replacements can cost from £200 to over £1,000 to replace.
- Tyres – beyond a puncture, the integrity of the tyre can be affected, and a wheel alignment check should be recommended for any heavy pothole incident.
With online searches for ‘car damage pothole’ increasing by 306% in the UK in Q1 and ‘pothole damage claim’ gathering 1,000 searches a month (up by 440% compared to 2022), potholes are a live issue. They are also an opportunity to help customers by fulfilling a duty of care and earning the business some income!
Promote pothole damage inspections to your customers and online, and ensure that when it comes to undertaking an eVHC check, particular attention is paid to the potential impact of a pothole impact. You can even use this as part of the reason for an eVHC safety check in dialogue with the customer.
When it comes to Workshop Management, we cannot stress enough that more time spent on an in-depth eVHC check results in far greater revenue being generated. In short, a deeper dive almost always identifies more red work, and potholes are a prime source of the damage that, for safety reasons, must be addressed urgently.