With monsoons wreaking havoc across the country with extensive flooding, one of the common casualties of it are – our beloved cars that are parked in our garage or outside on the street. Depending on the level of immersion, components like the engine, electrical system, and interior can be severely affected. If you come to find out that your car survived water level more than halfway up to its wheels, make sure you religiously follow these steps and address the damage.

Do Not Try To Start The Car!

There is always an inherent curiosity to fire up the engine to see if it is working, but if even traces of water have entered the engine, attempting to start it could seize the engine and damage it completely.

Gauge the Levels of Immersion

Check for signs of how deep your car was immersed. Mud debris usually leaves a mark on the car, inside out. If you observe that the water level did not rise above the doors, your car is likely to be fine. Most insurance companies consider it as a total-loss claim (beyond reasonable repair) if the water has reached the bottom of the dashboard.

Intimate Your Insurance Company

Flood damage is usually covered by most comprehensive insurance policies. If your car is covered by the same, it is advised that you start the process early as companies are likely to see such claims piling up during the monsoon season.

Next Step: Dry the Car

Suppose water has entered the cabin of your car, the dampened atmosphere can assist the growth of mold. Open the doors, windows and remove carpets, floor mats, door panels and seat upholstery. Soak the rest of the panels with the help of towels to prevent the rusting of the metal surface(s).

Check Signs of Water in the Engine

To identify if the water has indeed entered the engine, pull out the oil dipstick to see if there are any water droplets on it or if the oil levels have not gone up. Also, check if the air filter has water in it. If you observe any of the above, do not attempt to start the engine. Make sure you immediately get your car towed to an authorized workshop to have them drain out the water and the engine fluids changed.

Check All Other Fluids

In the event of flooding, there are high chances the other components such as the fuel system are compromised, which can later result in the entry of water into the engine. Especially look out for this issue in the older model cars where the fuel systems are not properly sealed. Also, brake, clutch, power steering and engine coolant reservoirs should also be checked for contamination.

Beware of Electrical Short Circuiting

Before you go ahead and crank up the motor, check for entry of water into any of the electrical components: headlights, AC, stereo, power windows/locks, interior lights or battery terminals. If you notice anything with the way the car runs or the gear shifts (automatic), it could also indicate electrical trouble with the ECU (Electronic Control Unit). You are advised to take your car straight to a mechanic. Note: These damages are also covered under a comprehensive insurance coverage.

Check Tires and Underbody for Obstruction

In case you are moving the car, check around the wheels, suspension, and underbody for any debris from flooding that may be obstructing the movement. Forcing the car to roll without removing the same will inflict more damages on the car.

If Damages are Extensive, Push for Total-Loss.

If the flooding has reduced your car into a borderline case of amounting to total-loss, push the insurance company to write it off as totaled and go ahead with a new car. Even though it might cost you a bit extra to buy a new car, it would surely save you the headache of perennial troubles cropping up later. And flood damaged vehicles anyway will fetch you a lower resale price later.

Also, while these cars are cleaned up and sold off in the used car markets, beware of terms such as flood damage, salvage/ total-loss while looking out for a used car. Many of these flood-affected cars are taken out of state and re-registered, in an attempt to gain a higher resale value. Remember to thoroughly check their service and insurance claims history, especially with cars which were previously registered in recent flood-affected states.

Source: thoughtco.com