6 Things to Do If Your Car Gets Flooded

A flooded vehicle can be stressful and challenging for any car owner. Aside from the hassle of dealing with the cleanup, there’s also the concern of whether the car can still function after costly repairs and parts replacement.

Fortunately, if you take action as soon as you can after the incident, you can minimise damage to your car’s engine and electrical systems. It will also ensure that your previous brake maintenance efforts and other upgrades are not wasted. 

If you live in an area that’s prone to heavy rains and flooding, here are some of the things you should do immediately if your car gets submerged in water to hopefully get it back to good working order again:

Get Your Car Out of Floodwater

Before you can do anything with your car, you need to get it out of the floodwater first. For safety reasons, don’t attempt to do this yourself. Instead, contact emergency services; they’re better equipped to remove vehicles from floodwater. You can also inform your roadside assistance provider about the situation and request towing services so they can safely move your car to a dry area. 

Don’t Start Your Car

While checking whether your car still works after being flooded might be tempting, don’t start the engine. Depending on the severity of the flooding, water may have entered your car’s engine compartment and mixed with the engine oil, transmission fluid, and other fluids. If this is indeed the case, starting your car can lead to hydro-lock and further damage to your engine. 

Disconnect and Remove the Car Battery

Aside from the engine, your car’s electrical system is also at risk of getting damaged after being stuck in a flood. As a precaution, it’s best to disconnect your car’s battery as soon as you retrieve your vehicle from a flooded area. A lot of the electrical components in your car run on constant power, and when flood water gets mixed with electrical current, these components can fail. 

In addition, floodwater could possibly have accumulated in your car’s computer box.If you accidentally turn on the ignition in this situation, the water can short contact points of your car's fuses, relays, and other electricals.

Another important reason for disconnecting and removing your car’s battery is to reduce the risk of getting an electrical shock when you perform inspections. 

Assess the Damage

Before you start calling an auto parts supplier in New Zealand and ordering new components, it’s best to first assess the damage flood water has done to your car. Check how high the water line is. If it barely reached the door, the damage likely isn’t that bad. If the water marks reach higher, up to the dashboard, the electrical components are guaranteed to have been flooded. In this case, your car will require more serious repairs. 

Remove Water from the Car Interior

If there’s standing water in the floor beds and trunk, take it out using a submersible pump or a wet and dry vacuum. Also, remember to remove the mats, seat covers, and trunk carpet for a thorough washing. Then, use towels to absorb water on the seats or cushions. Once you’ve removed most of the water, use fans or a dehumidifier to completely dry your car’s interior. Otherwise, you run the risk of mould growing in your vehicle. 

In some situations, it’s a better idea to bring your car to a professional detailer. They have more experience in how to completely clean up dirt and floodwater from all types of vehicles. A professional detailer can also help remove any lingering unpleasant odours. 

Take Your Car for Professional Repairs

While there are a few easy repairs you can immediately do yourself, it’s still better to bring your flooded car to a professional mechanic. Aside from being more skilled and knowledgeable, a professional mechanic has the necessary equipment to perform common flood-related car repairs. Some of these repairs include:

Brake System Evaluation and Repairs

One of the first parts of your car that will be affected by a flood is the brake components, which are positioned lower in the vehicle. Depending on the state of the brake system, the mechanic can clean the parts to make them work again or replace them completely if they are severely damaged.   

Electrical System Checks and Replacements

Water can damage various electrical components in your car, including the starter, alternator, and battery. A qualified mechanic will inspect the electrical system and replace damaged parts as needed. They’ll also verify if your car's electrical systems are functioning correctly.

Cleaning or Replacement of the Fuel System

Flood water entering your car’s fuel system can contaminate the fuel and lead to engine problems. To prevent this, a mechanic will drain and clean the fuel system. If necessary, the fuel filter will be replaced too. After all these procedures, you must refuel your vehicle with fresh petrol. 

As a car owner, knowing what steps to take if your car gets flooded is crucial. This helps ensure your safety and minimises repair or replacement costs as much as possible. Consider all the above steps to restore your vehicle after a flooding incident. Also, keep yourself informed about various car care tips so you can stay safe, regardless of the weather conditions. 


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