Pothole ‘menace’ sparks £1.2BILLION repair frenzy

Monday, January 27, 2014 - 13:00
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FRENZY: £1.2billion spent thanks to potholes

Pothole-strewn roads across Britain are leaving cash-strapped motorists with an annual car repair bill of £1.2billion, Halfords Autocentres have revealed.

Suspension, steering and wheel repairs by Halfords rose 16% in 2013, with more than 8.9million vehicles suffering from the pothole plague.

Dangerous potholes reported to hard-up councils increased by 18% over the same period, while the Asphalt Industry Alliance claim the UK’s roads are pitted with two million craters.

Highlighting the growing issue even further, insurance companies attribute as many as one in five mechanical vehicle failures to pothole-related damage.

Rory Carlin, of Halfords Autocentres, said: “The surface of our roads is deteriorating to the point where drivers are now likely to encounter a potentially damaging pothole during most journeys – with rain-filled holes being harder to see and avoid.

“In a new car a small pothole can damage wheels, tyres and shock absorbers but with large numbers of drivers keeping their cars for longer and cutting back on routine maintenance older, less well maintained cars are even more vulnerable.”

Rectifying the damage caused by potholes can be costly, with an average repair bill of £140.

Halfords’ figures reveal some regions had far higher incidences of pothole damage than others.

Drivers on the south coast were hit with a £85million repair bill in 2013, with Kent and East Midlands motorists stumping up £78million and £75million respectively.

Councils are now spending almost £1billion every year on highway maintenance but, despite repairing more than 2.2million potholes a year, experts claim fixing the backlog could take a decade.

“Cutting back on maintenance is a false economy because it increases the risk of damage to a vehicle going unnoticed as well as the likely repair costs to rectify it,” added Mr Carlin.

“If you hit a pothole it is always worth getting an expert opinion – even if there are no immediate after-effects such as unexplained noises or wheel damage.”