Even though we live in the desert Southwest, when we do have a big rain shower, it can turn into a flash flood quickly! Big pools of water forming on the streets can make it questionable to safely drive through them. As with El Paso’s “monsoon season” which starts in August typically, cars can get stuck, stall out, or even be swept away by strong currents caused by heavy rain. What then should you do if your car floods or is caught around high water?
A measuring rule of thumb can determine if your car is in trouble of flood damage. In general, if the water level is just below or is “splashing” the undercarriage of your car, you are fine. It is when flood waters reach more than half the height of your tires, that water damage could occur. Also, lower profile vehicles (those vehicles sitting lower toward the ground) will be more apt to be damaged by rising water.
So, you decided to try and drive through a huge pool of water and now you are stuck. Your engine has gone out as well. Best thing to do if that happens is to NOT try restarting your engine. You can end up doing more damage. From inside your car, phone for a towing company to come get you out. Either that, or if there are helpful bystanders around, maybe they can help push your car out (if it is safe to do so). Before you tow or get help pushing your car, make sure to check around your tires for obstructions or debris that could damage your wheels.
Next thing to consider after you get your car out of flood waters safely, is the possible damage caused. If the flood water didn’t reach the bottom of your doors, any damage caused is easily fixable. However, if the flood water reached beyond the measurement for safety (remember ‘more than half the height of your tires’), then you want to get your vehicle checked ASAP.
Today’s vehicles have a myriad of computer systems and other parts that may or may not be water resistant. Keep close eye on your oil and other fluid levels. If you notice that any fluid levels are registering higher than normal, or if there is water obviously in the fluid containers or system, it will need to be completely drained and replaced. All engine filters will need replacement. Check all electrically operated features like your headlights, radio, windows, and A/C to see if they are properly working. If not, there is electrical damage and should be fixed immediately.
Prevent mold from forming in the interior of your vehicle by airing it out. You can also remove moisture by using a wet-vac or hot air dryer.
Finally, how does your insurance company handle car flooding? Most comprehensive policies will cover such damage. Also, many companies will declare your vehicle a “loss” or “totaled” if the flood water fills the car’s interior up to the dashboard. Be up to speed on the nature of your coverage and ask your agent if you have questions.
Pete Solis Collision Center is El Paso’s Auto Body Shop! With over 47 years of experience behind us, we are the top choice for bodywork, paint, and more. We are the home to ICAR certified professional body shop technicians, as well as quality Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes. Pete Solis Collision Center is located at 1434 Lomaland Dr. in El Paso, Texas. Give us a call today at (915) 599-8666. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.