When heavy rains and thunderstorms feature in the weather forecast, people tend to scramble to protect their homes. However, in most cases, they often forget about their vehicles until it’s too late. Water can be extremely harmful to several parts of your car, and it can compromise your vehicle’s safety even years after the initial damage occurs.
With heavy rains anticipated in various parts of the country, vehicles are at the risk of suffering massive flood damage. If floodwaters happen to partially or fully immerse your car, it can mean thorough damage and costly repairs.
Ways to protect your car from flood damage
If you live in a location that is prone to flooding or you have prior knowledge that a massive storm is on its way, here is a nifty list of preventive measures that will help protect your car from flood damage:
Get to higher ground and take cover
Try to park on a higher level of an above-ground parking garage if possible, as water initially tends to pool in lower-lying areas. If your living quarters have an underground parking space, you should move your vehicle to a ground-level or above-ground parking space.
And it may sound like a cliché, but make sure you cover your vehicle with the car cover. It will keep most of the water at bay while also preventing the car from other natural elements like a hail storm or falling objects during a thunderstorm.
Shut down the car
In case you find your car suddenly submerged in water, turn it off, leave it where it is, and get yourself (along with your fellow passengers, if any) to a place of safety. It’s impossible to tell the depth of standing water, or when the water level rises, so you wouldn’t be able to control it if your vehicle gets swept away with you inside.
Disconnect the battery
Even a single foot of standing water can do severe damage to your car and compromise your safety if you try your hand at driving. Try to remove the battery connection of your vehicle if possible. It will eventually prevent any accidental short-circuit if the water enters the engine bay while also protecting the electrical components. You can get your car’s battery checked in case you feel that your car is troubling to start or has any electrical problems.
Seal your car
Close all of the windows and doors of your car tightly if you feel a storm incoming or if you’re traveling through flooded waters. Don’t forget the sunroof as well! Doing this will protect the upholstery of your vehicle as well as the electronic elements like the stereo system, your power windows, etc. It would help if you ideally started rolling down the windows as soon as you approach a waterlogged road as it’ll come in handy in case the vehicle gets stalled.
Stay away from puddles and potholes
Steer clear of puddles and potholes on the road as much as you can during and after a storm. It can be tough to guess just how deep a pothole may be, and even a relatively small one could splash up and do damage to your vehicle’s undercarriage if you manage to speed through it. In a situation where you have no choice but to drive through a puddle, do so at a slow and steady speed to restrict any splashing.
Don’t make the mistake of restarting the engine
If you have a stationary vehicle, and if half your tire is immersed or water has reached the exhaust pipe, do not restart the engine. This also holds true when you’re crossing a waterlogged stretch, and your vehicle gets stalled. Restarting the engine of a car stalled in water could allow the water to enter the engine bay and can lead to something called a hydrostatic lock.
In such a situation, the water enters the engine cylinders and damages the internal pistons, spark plugs, and valves. Repairing this kind of vehicular damage is a must. So, do not restart the engine of your car if it has been stalled in water or if you see the water level reach the exhaust pipe/half the height of the tire without getting it repaired first.
Dry car brakes
It’s important to remember if you’ve driven through water, your brakes may be wet, and for them to work correctly, you need to dry them. Therefore, for the next few miles, drive slowly and regularly apply the brakes lightly to heat them and help the water to evaporate.
Dry car interiors
In case you find that some of the floodwaters have entered your car, make sure you dry out the interiors of your car as soon as possible, lest they turn your car stinky. Open all the doors and windows to your vehicle along with the boot lid and the bonnet. Make sure you park your car under plenty of sunlight and let the sun do its job. You can also employ portable fans and heaters to dry the upholstery.
Replace the air filters in the car
Just like your car’s interiors, the air filter also would’ve soaked up with water in case of a flood. Therefore, it is best to stop using your car for a while, as continued use of the vehicle can result in moisture being led into the combustion chamber, in turn disrupting the whole combustion process. You can just as easily swap the old filter with a new one and continue using your car like ever before!
Change car fluids
If there’s water entering your car during a flood, be assured that it will reach all kinds of nooks and crannies, including your car’s various fluids. It is therefore recommended to drain and replace all your car’s fluids after a stint in flooded waters.
If your car ends up being stranded during heavy rains or a thunderstorm, try and climb out as soon as possible, and lock the doors before wading your way to solid ground. Take necessary precautions, as there may be uneven surfaces or hazards beneath the water.
If your car has been flood-hit and your ride does not feel right or you think there might be chances of some internal damage, you can easily opt for a full car inspection service from Pitstop, where our expert technicians will maintain an extensive checklist and troubleshoot all your vehicular hassles one way or another!