Car damage from potholes has soared to record levels, new research shows.

Some 6,500 breakdowns were linked to poor road surfaces between January and March, according to breakdown specialist RAC. Roadside call outs included those for damage to shock absorbers, broken suspension rings and distorted wheels.

The figure is a rise of nearly two thirds compared to the same period last year - and the highest for comparison since the RAC began keeping records in 2006.

David Bizley, chief engineer at the RAC, called the figures surprisingly poor because it had expected the mild winter weather would have meant fewer callouts. Colder weather tends to exacerbate poor conditions for drivers as road surfaces contract and break up.

"Our figures sadly show a surprising and unwelcome first quarter rise in the number of breakdowns where the poor quality of the road surface was a major factor," he said.

"We had expected a figure no worse than that recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (4,026) and it is very concerning that the roads appear to have deteriorated in a mild, comparatively dry winter."

He warned the condition of local roads was on a "knife-edge" and it would only take one season of cold and wet weather to cause further damage.

What can you do?

If a pothole damages your vehicle and the local authority responsible for maintaining the road failed to do so properly, you can claim for the cost of repairs in full. Use our full pothole claims guide to find out more.