Whether recent flooding, you left your windows open overnight, or you drove a little too far into the pond on a fishing trip, water damage to a car can be critical. Water left in the interior of the car, such as on the seats could present stains, visible damage, and a nasty odor which will depreciate the value of your car.
Whatever the reason for your car flooding, it’s important to take action quickly. We appreciate this may not be possible if you were required to abandoned your car to evacuate a hurricane or storm, however, if you can take action early, do so. This will help protect your car from further damage and financial loss.
This article will discuss what you should do if your car has flooded in, including the immediate response and common mechanical faults you may encounter.
What to do immediately when your car has flooded
As previously mentioned, taking action early is essential to protect the overall value of your car, preventing this from depreciating.
So, if you return to your car whether in the morning or following flood damage, there’s a handful of things you can do to prevent adverse damage:
1. Do not try to start the car - if your car has flooded, do not try and start the car. If water was to get into the engine, transmission, or fuel system, this will make the water damage must worse. Water can easily damage or destroy internal engine parts, resulting in a hydrolock (this is when pistons fail to compress and function normally). If a hydrolock occurs, you’re looking at either a hefty bill or purchasing an entirely new set of wheels.
2. Begin removing water from the vehicle - if possible, begin removing water from the vehicle immediately after flooding. This reduces the risk of interior and mechanical damage. If your car has deep puddles, you’ll need a wet vacuum to remove the water. Do not try using a regular vacuum, this could result in an electrical shock.
3. Air the car out - to prevent a nasty damp odor from developing, as well as to dry out the car, it’s important to air it out. Granted the rain has stopped, open the doors and windows to do this.
If you cannot dry the interior of the car yourself, you can also turn on the engine and run the fan heaters (this will speed up the process). However, you should check the condition of the engine first, preventing further mechanical damage to the vehicle - if possible, check this with a professional beforehand.
Mechanical vehicle faults as a result of flooding
As previously mentioned, if your vehicle is flooded it may result in various mechanical faults. Some of these faults are highlighted below:
1. Hyrolock - this is the worst-case scenario, to prevent a hydrolock don’t start the engine unless this has been checked by a professional.
2. General electrical problems - more commonly, water damage results in electrical problems to your vehicle. These could affect the wiring, radio, dashboard, or electric windows. Therefore, do not use any electrics until all water is removed from the car and checked with a professional. This will reduce your risk of an electric shock and further damage to the vehicle.
3. Rust and a damp odor - If your has flooded, it could become prone to the build-up of rust. Check any exposed metalwork, the bonnet, boot, and undercarriage. Dry the car best you can, as quickly as you can to prevent a build-up of the nasty stuff.
4. Various other problems - alongside the problems identified above, water can also result in other mechanical problems including clutch assembly faults, handbrake issues, and trouble starting the vehicle.
Protecting your car from water damage
Regardless of how expensive or “well-maintained” your vehicle, a faulty window or door seal will result in a build-up of water in the cabin or boot. Whilst you may be thinking a few drips isn’t much to worry about, over time this can develop into a much bigger problem, including rust, electrical damage, a damp odor, or other mechanical damage.
To prevent water damage to your car, it’s important to conduct regular inspections. After an evening of rain, inspect the interior including the boot, footwell, and driverside door. If there is water in the car, you likely have a leak.
Furthermore, to prevent further damage to your vehicle if it is flooded, it’s important to clean it throughout. Remove the water from the vehicle and let the car air dry out, not using the car for a few days. Once you’ve got the all-clear from a professional, if you’re lucky, your vehicle will be back on the road in no time whatsoever, perhaps with a quirk or two such as no radio, interior lights, or windows that operate themselves.