Potholes Leave Drivers with $26.5 Billion Bill

THUD! It's the all familiar sound that drivers hear when their vehicles hit one of the many potholes littered throughout San Diego.Given the substantial amount of rainfall witnessed this year, our familiarity with these potholes has increased even further.


How are potholes formed?

Potholes can take shape through various means, but typically they occur when water infiltrates cracks in the road. As vehicles drive over these cracks, the asphalt deteriorates and forms a pothole.

Potholes are costing you big bucks $$

Potholes pose more than just an annoyance—they inflict a substantial financial blow. AAA's data reveals a staggering $26.5 billion spent by drivers in 2021 alone to repair pothole damage to their vehicles, underscoring the severity of potholes.

Let’s look at some San Diego specific data.

In 2023 the zip codes with the highest number of potholes were reported in 92126 (Mira Mesa), 92111 (Kearny Mesa), and 92117 (Clairemont Mesa). While the least number of potholes were reported in 92067 (Rancho Santa Fe).

The Raw Numbers

92126 1962
92111 1797
92117 1537
92037 1086
92109 1004
92128 949
92120 881
92110 823
92121 818
92101 811
92104 777
92114 724
92103 686
92123 615
92154 609
92115 565
92108 556
92105 509
92102 486
92116 479
92122 464
92129 431
92113 406
92130 397

Methodology: SellMax conducted an analysis of pothole repair requests submitted by San Diego residents through the Get It Done App. The SellMax team organized the data for the year 2023 and identified the zip codes with the highest volume of repair requests.

How do potholes damage your car?

Many individuals often wonder how exactly a pothole can cause damage to their car. Potholes can lead to the following issues and more:

1. Pop your tires.

2. Damage your suspension and struts.

3. Bend your tie rods.

4. Car alignment can be thrown off.

5. Damage your rims.


How can you avoid pothole damage?

1. Stay focused while driving (you’ll have a higher probability of seeing the pothole)

2. Avoid puddles. If you can avoid driving through a puddle do so because often times a pothole is underneath.

3. Keep tires inflated. If your tires are inflated to the recommended tire pressure, the risk of damage is much less.


Can I get reimbursed?

Pothole damage costs individuals an average of $600.00 to be repaired, so you're probably looking for answers on how to get reimbursed.. Drivers can file a claim here; however, based on conversations with multiple mechanic shops and our own experience, we have not yet encountered any instances of individuals being reimbursed for pothole damage. Potholes are a significant issue that affect numerous families throughout San Diego, and the city must find a way to better address this predicament.