Mar 222008

3rd world countryAlmost a fifth of all cars could be on the road with their drivers unaware of “potentially dangerous”, and costly, damage caused by potholes, according to leading independent mechanical breakdown insurer, Warranty Direct.

With the average motorist suffering a mechanical failure once every three years*, six million vehicles – nearly 19 percent of the cars on the road** – could have pothole-related damage that may not be immediately apparent to the driver.

“An increasing number of motorists are only discovering the kind of faults directly attributable to poor roads during an annual service or MoT,” says Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct. “That’s an alarming state of affairs given the potential danger of failures like wheel bearings, tyres and steering racks.”

Every year, around 60 percent of all claims processed by the firm relate to suspension and axle damage consistent with that caused by Britain’s rutted, and poorly-maintained, roads.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance report states that there is a shortfall of £1 billion to bring the country’s roads up to standard. Last year, Warranty Direct set up the website to campaign for better road maintenance, and give drivers advice on how to claim compensation from local authorities.

One car owner from the Epping Forest area told that, having taken his car to a garage for unrelated work, he was told that one of his rear wheels had pothole-consistent damage that made his car unroadworthy.

Without proof of where and when the damage was caused, he had to fork out £535 for a new wheel, bearing kit and holding arm without being able to claim compensation from his local council.

Warranty Direct warns that components typically damaged by potholes include:

* Shock absorbers

* Suspension mountings

* Upper and lower wishbones

* Bushes

* Coil springs

* Wheel bearings

* Hub assembly

* Anti roll bar

* Anti roll bar links

* Steering rack

* Track rod ends

* Tyres

* Road wheels

* Suspension arms

Warranty Direct pays for repairs to faults discovered during regular servicing and MoTs as part of its market leading mechanical breakdown insurance policy.

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