Having your car subject to the aftermath of heavy storms or floods such as what Houston has experienced recently, is often dangerous and a costly mistake. It is a widespread belief that cars can go through flooded roads and streets, but this is to the detriment of the owner’s wallet as the damage caused by those floodwaters can eat up a large amount of cash and quickly.
Often the damage of a flooded car may not show up immediately. They can present themselves long after the car was submerged in water. Also, keep in mind that salt water is far harsher and more destructive than fresh water. You should always avoid driving through a flooded area.
Here are common car problems that occur because of flooding and suggestions for how to fix, however, a flooded vehicle should be repaired only by an experienced mechanic, not you!
A malfunction in the electronics and electrical system: the parts of a vehicle that sustains the most damage from flooding are usually the electrical and electronics system. A short circuit can be caused because of moisture in the electrical system and this results in the malfunctioning of the car’s critical components. There is also the problem of corrosion which can occur after days or years as the corrosion tends to build up over time. This is the worst issue with owning and driving a flood-damaged car.
To fix issues of electrical system malfunction, make sure to inspect all the electrical systems of the car, also remember that behind panels, in the trunk, under the seats, and under the car hood are buried electrical and electronic components.
- Mold and Mildew growth: Once the interior of a car is submerged in flood water, it quickly begins to grow mold and mildew on various part of the interior. From the seats to the hood to the carpets, door handles and panels, headliner, trunk and AC system etc. You will want to Inspect or have them inspected thoroughly. If you have mold or mildew growing in and on them, have them washed and cleaned thoroughly and dried. If you find your seats, door panels and carpet wet, have them dried properly and place a towel over the seat to let it absorb water. Do not let water in the interior of your vehicle sit for long.
- Damage to the engine: The engine of your vehicle is vulnerable to water damage. With 6 inches of space between the ground level and undercarriage of your car, if water rises above that level so does the risk to the car. If water gets up to the level of being sucked in through the air intakes, the piston would try to compress it and as water does not compress, this leads to damage to the piston rods and causing engine malfunction. Check your oil dipstick for signs of water droplets as well check for a change of oil color to milky. To fix this problem, instead of trying to run the engine again after you have driven through a flooded area, disconnect your battery, change your oil filter and oil.
- Check Your Air filter and Spark Plugs: Allow the engine to dry for few days. After replacing the oil filter, oil, air filter, and without the spark plugs, crank the engine to remove any water particles left in the engine. After running the engine for few minutes, replace the oil and oil filter again and put the spark plugs back in.
When your car gets flooded, you can file for a claim for replacement and repair. Talk to your insurance agent to understand what repairs can be carried out with your insurance plan and then contact our team right away so we can help get you and your car back on the road.