BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A new report from AAA found drivers across the country are shelling out tens of billions of dollars to repair damage to their cars caused by potholes.
According to the report released Wednesday, about one in 10 drivers nationwide had to repair their car because a pothole seriously damaged it. Those repairs cost drivers a total of $26.5 billion in 2021 alone; on average, each repair cost about $600.
The survey also found that many drivers wound up taking their cars to the shop twice to fix pothole damage on average.
“In many parts of the country, winter roads will likely give way to pothole-laden obstacle courses,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering. “When a vehicle hits a pothole with any kind of force, the tires, wheels and suspension get the brunt of the impact and fixing any of those items is pricey.”
Cutting the costs of pothole repairs
AAA says there are three things you should check on your car to help you save money on maintenance and repairs.
- Tire tread: put a quarter in the tread of your tires with Washington's head upside-down. If you can see the top of his head, you need new tires.
- Tire pressure: check your tire pressure with a gauge before you head out and make sure it is not below the recommended pressure listed on a sticker on the inside of your driver's side door.
- Suspension and alignment: if your car's steering is vibrating excessively, your tires are wearing unevenly or if your car pulls to the left or right when you're trying to drive straight, you should have a mechanic check your car's alignment.
AAA also says to avoid hitting potholes and making potentially costly repairs because of them, you need to remain alert. Standing water and puddles may disguise deep potholes that can do serious damage to your car, so you should avoid driving through them as much as possible.
If you can not avoid a pothole, AAA says you should safely slow down as much as you can without slamming on the brakes. Hitting a pothole at a lower speed will reduce the amount of force your tire tires and suspension will take on impact, reducing the potential damage to your car.
If you hit a pothole and notice any new or unusual sounds or vibrations, you should take your car to the shop as soon as possible.