Flood damaged cars: A driver’s worst nightmare.
In honor of this week’s flash floods and torrential down pours, we’re doing a three-part series on flood damaged cars! In part one, we’ll be talking about what to do if your car has been flooded or otherwise water-damaged. In part two, we’ll go over the tell-tale signs that the car you’re looking at buying has been salvaged, if it’s experienced any water damage, whether that even matters, and what to do about it. And finally, in the third installment, we’ll recommend some cars that don’t do so poorly in rain heavy climates – CarStory has quite a few.
Your car has been flooded. Maybe there was a crazy rainstorm last night. Maybe there was a flash flood. Maybe you’re a taxi driver, and New York City just had another hurricane of Sandy-like proportions. Either way, you’re probably pretty miffed (or panicking, or crying, or cursing the sky). Cars can withstand a lot – that’s what they’re made for.Water and cars, on the other hand, don’t get along too well. What are you supposed to do with your vehicle when the Fates have sent Biblical rain your way and you’re in ankle deep water? What about knee deep? Waist deep?
Here are some tips:
- Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where you really shouldn’t wait around for anyone to arrive – insurance adjuster, mechanic, whoever. If you want any chance of salvaging your car, you’re going to have to assess the damage as soon as is realistically possible. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way – but try to get out there ASAP.
- Some flood repair is hopeless. If the water line is at the dashboard or above, there’s a very low chance that you’ll be able to help it. You can try but the odds are in your favor that it will be a waste of time. Start looking into getting a new car.
- DON’T try to start your car. If there is water in the engine, for example, you’ll just do more damage.
- Disconnect your battery.
- Remove spark plugs, turn engine over, and check if there’s any water in the cylinders (and remove that water!). If there IS water, your engine’s lifespan has been cut short. It might work, but not for long.
- Drain and replace the transmission fluid and oil – when these mix with water, they can cause car-destroying damage.
- Get the water out of the interior. Most of it will need replacing.
- Bleach is your best friend! Bleach in the inside of your car to make sure you’ve killed the mold spores.