Tips for Flooded Vehicles
With the recent flooding in Houston and rains covering large portions of Texas, you or someone you know may have found yourselves in possession of a flooded or partially flooded vehicle. You can follow the simple steps below (provided by ThoughtCo. and State Farm) for the best chance at recovering your vehicle. When in doubt, please consult an expert BEFORE attempting to repair your vehicle yourself.
1. Do not attempt to start the car! If there’s water in the engine, this may damage the vehicle beyond repair.
2. Determine how deep the car was submerged. Insurance companies will generally declare a vehicle totaled if the waterline is at the bottom of the dashboard, and other flood damage may be covered – check your policy. If the water didn’t rise above the bottom of your doors, you’re probably fine.
3. Dry the interior. Mold will grow quickly, so open doors and windows and put towels on the floor to sop up water – but plan on replacing anything that got wet, including carpets floor mats, door panels, seat padding, and upholstery.
4. Check the oil, air filter, and fluids. If there are drops of water on the dipstick, or if the filter has water in it, see step one (do NOT attempt to start the car!). Have it towed to a mechanic to have the water cleared and oil changed. The same goes for other fluids – if there’s contamination, you’ll need to have them drained.
5. Check the electrical systems. If the engine looks ok to start (and be very careful about this), check everything electrical when it’s turned on, including headlights, turn signals, AC, stereo, power locks, windows, seats, interior lights, the way the car runs, and the way the transmission shifts. If anything looks even slightly amiss, take the car to a mechanic.
6. Check around wheels and tires. Set your parking brake and make sure there’s no debris around the wheels, brakes, and underbody before driving.
These steps should help if your car has been recently submerged, but please remember – a trusted mechanic will always be a better option for ensuring safety and accuracy.