How to Maintain Your Vehicle

Flooded Vehicle Lesson 101: Immediate Steps to Take

If your vehicle has flooded, you may be looking to get it repaired as soon as possible. High water levels can severely damage your vehicle's electric system and fluids. And if it is left sitting in a pool of water for long periods, mud, debris and salt may cause further mechanical issues.

Unfortunately, many motorists don't know what steps to take after their vehicles are affected by flooding. Here's a lesson in vehicle flood management and how you can take immediate steps to save and repair your car in good time.

1. Get the vehicle out of submerging water

Your first step should be to get your vehicle out of floodwaters as soon as possible. Stagnant pools inside your car may contaminate oil systems, damage electrical connections and even interfere with the transmission. Before moving the vehicle, you may need to drain your engine oil and transmission fluid. This will prevent internal systems from sustaining further damage.

You should also avoid starting your engine, as this might cause your electrical components to short-circuit. A better idea is to tow the vehicle from the flooded area and onto dry land.    

2. Disconnect battery terminals

Even without starting your engine, the charge stored in your battery can cause electrical damage after a flooding event. You can prevent this by disconnecting all wiring to your battery terminals. Disconnecting the battery will reduce any risk of electric shock or short-circuiting.

3. Check your fluid levels and have them drained

The primary challenge with flooding is that it causes water to enter your engine and other vehicle components. You should have an auto technician check all the fluids in your vehicle. For example, engine oil can get mixed with water and inundate various sections of the engine.

In such cases, your technician will need to drain the engine of all moisture and add a clean oil supply. The same applies to the transmission fluid. If water is detected, the fluid should be drained and replaced.

4. Inspect the air filter

Your air filter will help you estimate the extent of water damage. If the air filter is wet, this is a sign that the engine is flooded. Your auto technician will inspect and flush the air filter if necessary. Flushing is a critical process because it will help ensure your air filter is capable of removing incoming debris.

5. Inspect electrical systems

Many modern vehicles use integrated electrical systems to control doors, windows and the infotainment system. Floodwaters can damage electrical wiring, making it necessary to replace these affected components.

For more information, contact a local car servicing business.