Aug 262004
potholes £100 million
Potholes claim 1 in 6 vehicle failures – Scottish roads the worst, South West the best (27/08/04)

Local road lottery is being blamed for a 47 percent increase in car suspension failure during the past five years.

According to analysis by independent automotive warranty firm, Warranty Direct, the number of cars needing suspension and axle repairs as a result of   poorly maintained roads and potholes has jumped from 9 percent of all claims in 1999 to an average of 17 percent for the first eight months of 2004.

Either continuous driving over cracked and uneven road surfaces, or the sudden jolting of a deep pothole, can cause damage to shock absorbers, springs, upper and lower arms, and stabiliser bars.

Regionally, Scottish drivers are the most at risk with a staggering 35 percent of all claims attributable to a road defect. The worst region in   England during the past twelve months has been Anglia with nearly 1 in 5   breakdowns reporting suspension or axle damage. Greater London recorded a   figure of nearly 14 percent, with roads in the South West, currently the   least likely to damage the health of your vehicle at just over 11 percent.

Region Percentage
Scotland 35.07
Anglia 19.11
North East 18.77
West Midlands 15.56
North West 15.25
Wales 14.42
Greater London 13.99
East Midlands 13.76
South East 12.40
South West 11.04
British     Average 16.93


The data from Warranty Direct is supported by comments from the Institute of Civil Engineers and the Asphalt Industry Alliance about the state of British roads. The latest ALARM (Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance) survey, reported a 94 percent increase in visible defects over the past ten years, during which time the number of compensation claims against local authorities in England had doubled an annual payout of 85m.

On average, Warranty Direct will pay 267.15 to repair pothole-damaged vehicles – a figure that can quickly rise. For example, replacing the front suspension arm on a Ford Focus will cost 332.52 or 619.22 for a BMW 3 Series.

“With current budgets only allowing for resurfacing once every 76 years, is it no wonder that more than 1 in 6 vehicles that breakdown today will have suffered a mechanical failure as a result of poorly maintained roads?” says Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

“As more and more motorists without adequate warranty cover seek compensation, any extra money earmarked for road improvement is being redirected to pay and handle such claims. It may be a Catch 22 for officials, but the problem is now reaching critical levels and something needs to be done.”

If the financial cost to the motorist wasn’t of enough concern, ALARM reported in March that 80 percent of local authority engineers believe ‘there is a threat to road users’ safety due to road maintenance under   funding.”

What you can expect to pay:
  Front     Suspension Arms Rear Suspension     Arms Front Shock     Absorbers Rear Shock     Absorbers
Vauxhall Corsa 143.35 438.27 387.75 106.92
Mazda MX5 253.80 245.57 393.62 340.75
VW Golf 259.67 305.50 270.25 138.65
Peugeot 206 291.40 215.02 286.70 142.17
Ford Focus 332.52 168.02 351.32 189.17
Ford Mondeo 413.60 211.50 299.62 321.95
Land Rover Freelander 433.57 526.40 338.40 459.42
Renault Espace 451.20 239.70 323.12 206.80
BMW 3 Series 619.22 316.10 508.77 204.45