Over 41 million Americans live in flood zones, with coastal states typically being the most affected. However, just about anywhere can become flooded if the weather becomes extreme enough. Flooding can occur suddenly and with very little warning, and for most of us, the focus becomes our family and our homes. But what about our cars?
In this article we’ll be taking a closer look at how flooding can affect cars. We’ll be exploring simple preventative measures as well as how to deal with damage caused, should the worst happen.
Of course, the best thing you can do is try to keep your car safe from flooding before the bad weather strikes, and while nothing is foolproof when it comes to mother nature, by adhering to these simple preparatory methods, you might significantly reduce any prospective flood damage to your vehicle.
1. High Ground
Just as when preparing your home for a flood, you move prized possessions to higher ground. If you live near a hill or have access to elevated ground or garage, try to park your car as close to the top as possible where it will hopefully be safer from rising waters.
2. Close Everything
This tip is also generally advisable for theft prevention, but in regards to flood safety, make sure all the windows, doors, and sun roofs are tightly closed. The more areas you can prevent water from entering the better.
3. Disconnect the Battery
If you live in a flatter area where finding high ground is unlikely, prepare for the worst by disconnecting your battery. This will help prevent water damaging the sensitive electronic components as well as the car’s onboard computer, since the source of power will be disconnected.
4. Cease and Desist
Finally, if you’re caught out driving when water levels start to rise, turn off your car immediately. Do not stay in your car. Water can rise faster than you realise, leaving you trapped, or worse, swept away while trapped inside your vehicle. Never try to drive through flood waters. Not only is it difficult to assess the depth of water, but you also do not want water to be sucked into your car by the various pumps and valves connected to your vehicle, ruining your engine and more.
Once the adverse weather has ceased, it’s time to assess the damage. Hopefully, your prior preparedness has minimized the worst of the damage. Unfortunately, for flood damaged cars, the prognosis usually isn’t good. Depending on the age or condition of your car, seeking a replacement may be a more advisable solution. If the flooding involved salt water, salvaging the car becomes 50% less likely.
However, if you want to maximise the chance of saving your prized motor, then acting fast is important. As soon as it is safe to do so, inspect your car and note the mark left by the waterline. If it was as high as the dashboard, it is unlikely your vehicle will be worth saving. However, lower level flooding should be cleaned out and dried as soon as possible to prevent mould and rust.
If you were not able to remove the battery before the flooding, now is the time to do so, this will help prevent any damage from lingering water. Most importantly, even if the flooding was quite minor, it is essential that you do not start up your car, as this can introduce residual flood water into engine, only adding to your problems.
Your best solution is to either call a tow truck or have your local mechanic come out to your car in person to assess the damage before any more can be done. They will be able to advise you on the best ways to proceed and also give you a clear vision of the future costs as well as the types of work you may be able to claim back on your insurance.
If you’ve been a victim of flooding and have decided that your car is worth saving, then finding an understanding service center who will guide you through the potentially lengthy recovery process is essential. If you’re in the Canoga Park, Woodland Hills, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County, or other surrounding areas of California, Euro Plus Automotive should be your first call. With a 2 year/24,000 mile guarantee on all parts and repairs, once your car is fixed, you can get back on the road and put all the stress of flooding behind you.