Drivers, if you have driven today, you will likely have experienced a dreaded pothole. You will have either swerved to avoid the hole in the road or you will have hit it head on and suffered the horrible vibrations throughout your car. A lot of damage can be done to your car when you hit a pothole and the unfortunate truth is that most potholes are not obvious until you strike them.

Apart from the initial anger of hitting a pothole that can make you feel guilty for hurting your car and yourself, potholes can also cause serious damage to your vehicle. You may not notice any damage at the time and may think you have dodged a bullet. However, later on, the damage could become obvious[1].

Potential pothole damage

  • Damage to the tyres including punctures.
  • Damage to the wheel rim.
  • Premature wear on struts and shocks.
  • Damage to the suspension and possible broken components.
  • Steering misalignment.
  • Damage to the exhaust system.
  • Damage to the engine.

The estimated costs to British drivers to repair the damage caused by potholes comes in at 2.8 billion pounds a year[2]. Each year, UK authorities, whether that be councils or the Highway Agency pay 30 million in compensation claims due to potholes and poorly maintained roads.

Red car in pothole

Tax and expenditure

It is forecast that the government will collect approximately £5.5 billion from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) also know as road tax or car tax in 2017/2018. That doesn’t include the amount the government will also collect in fuel duty. VED taxes people based on the CO2 emission their cars emit and fuel duty tax is currently 57.95 pence per litre on petrol, diesel, biodiesel and bioethanol. You also pay an additional 20% Vat on top of the total price of your fuel.

According to the Department of Transport, the government collected around £30 billion in fuel duty and VED each year for the period between 2005 and 2014. In 2005 it was just under £30 billion and by 2014, the money collected had risen to over £30 billion[3]. In that same period, the Government road expenditure has stayed just under £10 billion annually. That is a surplus in road-related tax of close to £20 billion.

According to C R Macdonald, a leading tarmac contractor, it costs an average of £58 to fill a pothole. On average it costs £114 million to repair potholes across the UK annually and in between 2012-2013, the number of potholes filled rose my 31%[4].

Yet, many of us still suffer every day with potholes on our roads and question whether the money collected through fuel duty and VED are being spent effectively.

This is likely because all the road-related tax collected goes straight to the General Treasury Fund instead of local councils. This means that it is therefore centrally distributed from the UK government rather than from your local council who would have a better idea as to where the road needs repairing and maintaining.

Get your car inspected

In the meantime, we will continue to suffer the dangers of potholes and the potential damage they can cause. If you hit a pothole or the likely case, multiple potholes, bring your car in for an inspection. As was previously mentioned, your car may have suffered damage that isn’t initially noticeable.

We offer car inspections and car servicing for all cars. It is well worth getting your car inspected sooner rather than later. If you have a high-value car, the damage caused by a pothole can end up costing dramatic amounts of money. We offer prestige car servicing to ensure you can keep your car in top shape and repair any damage that may have been caused by a pothole.