CRUMBLING roads have cost British motorists more than £3 billion in car repairs as new figures reveal one in three drivers have footed average repair bills of £260 after hitting potholes.
The staggering cost of pothole damage to cars ranges from replacing individual tyres to fixing extensive damage to suspension systems. And, in some cases, cars have been left a total write-off, according to new research by the online motor retail specialist BuyaCar.co.uk.
More than 600 UK motorists were asked if their car had ever been damaged by a pothole and how much any repairs had cost.
The repair bills reported among 198 drivers who said their cars needed attention after hitting a pothole added up to more than £47,000. This figure is lower than the total costs involved because it includes 18 drivers who did not remember the repair cost, or had claimed on insurance.
These figures come a week after national statistics were published showing that Britain’s road repairs backlog continues to grow, despite local authorities fixing a record 1.86 million potholes in the year to March 2019. The estimated total cost of repairing all road damage now stands at almost £10 billion.
Taxpayers may ultimately face the bill for fixing Britain’s roads, but motorists are already taking a massive hit every day, with BuyaCar.co.uk’s data showing car repair costs averaging £260 for each damaging encounter with a pothole.
Reported damage ranged from around £40 for one new tyre or wheel realignment all the way up to £2,000 for extensive damage to the suspension and exhaust system of one unlucky driver’s car.
Perhaps most worryingly, of the 106 tyres that needed replacing 14 had blown completely, risking a serious accident.
A significant number of drivers also told BuyaCar.co.uk that they had not fixed cosmetic damage to alloy wheels or trims - a cost that will eventually catch up with them when they come to trade in or sell their car.
If the figures are representative of the national total, one in three of Britain’s cars has been damaged by potholes - meaning nearly 12 million incidents at an average cost of £260 and an estimated total cost of £3 billion.
Austin Collins, Managing Director of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: “Local authorities are doing their best to catch up with the pothole problem and the recent news that they had repaired 20% more in the past 12 months than the previous year was certainly welcome.
“But that will be cold comfort for drivers, who are shelling out a staggering total for the damage to their cars caused by potholes.
“There is also no sign that the problem will improve anytime soon because the Local Government Association itself says councils are falling behind on repairs all the time, despite fixing a hole every 17 seconds.”