How to Deal with Potholes

Last year's bad weather had a damaging effect on the state of our roads, and with another freezing winter ahead of us, it looks like we can expect even more potholes to form. Potholes in the road can cause major damage to vehicles from offsetting your wheel alignment to more serious tyre damage so it is important that you are aware of what damage they can cause and what you can do about it.

What Causes Potholes?

The most common cause of potholes is a combination of water and cold weather, meaning that every winter in Britain there are opportunities for new potholes to form. When it rains, water can slip through cracks in the road surface and sit beneath it. In winter, this water is likely to freeze and expand, eventually melting and leaving a space. This means that there is little support for the road surface and weight, such as a car, could cause the road to collapse, leaving a pothole.

How Could a Pothole Damage my Car?

When you drive over a pothole it can cause minor and major damage to your car, especially if you are driving at high speeds or the pothole is particularly large. Your tyres are at risk from cuts and punctures or even bulges which can cause internal structural damages that may lead to blowouts. As with tyres, your wheels are also a direct point of contact for potholes and could be susceptible to scratches and chips. The jarring effect of hitting a pothole can also cause damage to the suspension system of your vehicle and may cause your wheels to become misaligned.

Wheel Alignment

After hitting a pothole you may notice your vehicle pulling to the side when driving, poor handling or excessive and uneven tyre wear. In this case, it is likely that your wheels have become misaligned.

Luckily, wheel misalignment is easy to spot by a trained mechanic and can be remedied. If you have any concerns that your wheels have become misaligned, visit your local Setyres branch for a Free Wheel Alignment Check.


Checking your tyres is an important part of vehicle maintenance and should be undertaken every three weeks as standard. It is advisable to also check over your tyres for any forms of damage following an encounter with a pothole.

You should visually inspect your tyres for any cuts or tears, as your tyre may have been ripped by the pothole, and for any lumps or bulges which look like a bubble underneath the tyre tread. Lumps and bulges are caused by sidewall impact and must be taken seriously as they could indicate serious damage to the tyre structure.

Contact your local Setyres branch if you have spotted any forms of tyre damage before continuing to drive on a damaged tyre. Take a look at our tyre condition advice for more information on identifying tyre damage.


Unfortunately, potholes can also cause damage to your suspension system which can be difficult to spot and expensive to repair. If you begin to notice that driving feels bumpier and less comfortable, you have increased difficulty steering or one corner of your car sits lower than the others, it could be a sign that there is a problem with your suspension.

We offer a Free Suspension Health Check so don't ignore any issues, however small they may be! Contact your local Setyres branch to book this free service.

Posted on: 16/10/2018

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